Rains are blessings for man and nature. They bring in pure water for us and dissolved oxygen for trees and plants, cleanse the air, soak the soil and make it fertile so that we can cultivate crops and fruits. They also feed the rivers with sweet water. Rains wash away filth and dirt from our environment. Without rainwater the surface of the globe would turn into a desert.
Rainfall in the monsoon is a natural phenomenon. Civilisation means that we must have the knowledge and technological know how to harvest the benefits that rains offer us. But very often we find ourselves completely unprepared and thus let the boon turn into a bane. The tragic loss of dozens of lives in the hill-district landslides and the deluge-like situation in our cities following Monday rains excruciatingly expose our lack of preparedness.
It is well within our knowledge that showers of various measures will take place in this region in the mid-year months. But how far have we prepared our cities’ drainage system so that rains cannot wreck havoc and cause boundless sufferings for us? No, we have not built a drainage network to keep cities free from stagnant water. Rather, we have walked in the opposite direction. The capital city had dozens of natural canals to drain down rainwater and a large number of water retention bodies to hold access water. Instead of preserving and maintaining them, we have allowed them to be occupied and filled. The same is the case with the port city of Chittagong. What else can take place other than a flood-like situation when we have severed these arteries?
We know that under the impacts of climate change, weather pattern is already and going to be more erratic, with rains storms and cyclones becoming more frequent and ferocious. And that Bangladesh is the sixth most weather-hit country in the world. Under these circumstances we urgently need to adapt to and mitigate climate change impacts. These are very essential knowledge. But such knowledge is of no use unless we are guided by it and prepare ourselves to meet the challenge from vagaries of nature and manmade calamities. The Monday deluges in the cities mean that we do not work as much as we like to talk.
By this time, it is supposed to be clear to all stakeholders that we are going to face even more disastrous situations in the days to come.
We have talked much; now we need to act.