Sunday, 3 July, 2022

Stand by flood victims

It is worrying as well as heartbreaking that most of the people affected by the worst flooding in a decade and a half in Sylhet are passing days in utter misery amid acute crises of food, drinking water and shelter. Over two million people remain stranded by floodwater as the overall flood situation in the district has worsened further with new areas getting inundated due to a huge onrush of upstream water. At least four people reportedly died either from drowning in floodwater or in landslides so far. Besides, crops of several hectares of land have been damaged.

Now, many flood victims are looking forward to relief to keep themselves afloat. Although the government is trying to provide relief, they face hurdles to reach every corner as road communication between Sadar upazila and several other places has been cut off due to the worsening flood situation. Besides, it might not be possible for the government to provide adequate assistance to this large number of victims. So, well-off families and corporate houses should come forward to help these ill-fated people who will have to struggle much even if the flood situation improves since water-borne diseases will spread in the coming days and they will need to build their dwellings and cultivate crops anew.

Allegation has it that various parts of the country are being affected by food  every year due to negligence of the authorities concerned. This time is no exception. It is learnt that the riverbed of the Surma and the Kushiyara have been filled with polythene and plastic, causing an overflow of water. Moreover, unplanned urbanisation, improper city development plans and faulty drainage systems have been aggravating the situation.

Therefore, it is necessary to change the government’s attitudes towards protecting people from floods. Every year floods hit; we speak about the same issue but nothing changes. None takes proper initiatives to save the people from the flood. So, along with providing relief and making houses for the victims, the government needs to make elaborate plans for the infrastructural development – making necessarily sustainable dams and maintaining them – and dredging rivers regularly. If they fail to do so, the suffering of people continues to increase in the coming days, when climate change will worsen the situation. It is time to rise to the changed climatic reality and plan to protect floods anew.