Monsoon multiplies daily wage-earners’ woes

Staff Correspondent

13 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Increased unemployment and income loss caused by coronavirus will make it harder for vulnerable communities in the country to prepare for floods and landslides this monsoon season, says a study report.

The report, commissioned by the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance titled “Monsoon, floods and COVID-19: building community resilience in Bangladesh”, surveyed 15 Union Disaster Management Committees (UMDC) across three districts, home to 380,000 people.

The survey was conducted to understand their readiness for the monsoon rains and flooding season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Daily wage earners, such as rickshaw and transport drivers, masons, garment workers, small scale traders and farmers have been especially impacted. These groups accounted for nearly half of the surveyed population.

Afsari Begum, Senior Specialist for Disaster Risk Reduction, from Practical Action in Bangladesh co-authored the report.

“We’re concerned that a lot of people will be pushed further into poverty because of coronavirus. If communities are battered by intense storms and floods that destroy or damage homes, agricultural land, schools and hospitals, it will only make things worse,” said Afsari Begum. While discussing this new report, Subinoy Dutta, Programme and Advocacy Manager, Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, Mercy Corps in Bangladesh said now, at the start of this monsoon season, it has to grapple with the coronavirus crisis.

“Our research shows that a lot of people, especially the poor, are unable to earn money in sectors that require them to leave the house to make a living. For them, there is no work from home option,” said Subinoy Dutta.