Tuesday, 5 July, 2022

Ominous indication of flooding

Flooding is a natural phenomenon in our country that occurs on an annual basis. Every year, it causes serious social and economic losses and damages in different parts of the country. Because of chronic flooding, sufferings of people are beyond imagination. Presently, the country is yet again facing the calamity of flood that has befallen on three districts of Kurigram, Sylhet and Sunamganj. However, despite its recurrent nature and devastation, it seems the authorities concerned have learnt no lessons in dealing with the natural calamity effectively. We know that Holland is the world’s most endangered nation as nearly a quarter of it lies below the sea level and another half sits less than a metre above. Two-thirds of the country is at risk of flooding.

The situation in Holland sounds bleak, but the low-lying country has successfully tamed flooding.  Its flood defence network is robust. It is a collection of concrete so huge that it took over 50 years to complete. Now, there has been no significant flooding in the country. We can easily emulate the example of the Netherlands to get rid of the curse of flooding. The policymakers should device a comprehensive plan in this regard. Vulnerable dams and dikes are blamed for the country's flooding. Here, dams are often designed with a very poor knowledge about extreme flooding events. Legend says that many years ago a fine young Dutch boy named Hans Brinker prevented a disastrous flood by plugging a dike with his finger for whole night braving severe cold and fear.

The Dutch boy has taught us that awareness and preparedness are of utmost importance in preventing disasters and mitigating their impacts. Necessary pre-and post-flood preparation can lessen by manifold the victims' sufferings, damage to property and financial losses caused by the natural calamity. As flooding is a routine phenomenon, the authorities concerned should always keep adequate relief materials ready for distribution before it is too late. Likewise, post-disaster rehabilitation activities should begin at the earliest to cope with the losses. There should be a continuous effort to keep the country safe from flooding. There should be a strong realisation that we have to do it together to protect lives and property.