Wednesday, August 23, 2017 | ePaper

Are we doing enough to rehabilitate the flash-flood victims?

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CAUSED due to intermittent heavy rains the low lying and the hilly parts of the south of the country are feared to experience more flash floods and landslides. Particularly, the incidence of this year's unprecedented pre-monsoon rainfall is clearly hinting that the hilly regions of the country are likely to face more potential floods which have been already witnessed on two separate times this year. Although the role of climate change on flash floods is yet to be established, but evident changes in weather phenomenon and increase in extreme weather events have already been observed. According to experts, the probability of the occurrence of flash floods before its expected season would likely be higher in the future due to climate change. Not even two months into the havoc which wreaked the Haor areas ranging to some seven northeastern districts, and now it is hilly region in the south which has been affected. Vehicle movements along the highways there have come to an almost standstill.

However, in the face of mounting environmental hazards the question is - how are the affected being rehabilitated? More importantly, is the government's concerned authorities prepared to deal with the calamity while rehabilitating the victims simultaneously?

Drawing crucial lessons from the last couple of months we expect the government to boost up its rehabilitation capabilities and especially with the monsoon to begin anytime soon - the need of the minute is to run the extra mile for getting prepared for more potential seasonal disasters.   By now it is a well-established fact that the hilly regions of Bangladesh have become extremely vulnerable to landslides due to increased manmade causes, and we have witnessed time and again the disastrous consequences from previous experiences. But the country cannot continue to afford to pay heavy prices for each such disaster. So the strength of the existing preparedness programme will have to be upgraded speedily.

The demographic pressure over the last few decades due to indiscriminate settlements has taken a toll on the delicate ecological balance of the region making it more vulnerable to such calamities. What is particularly appalling is that there seems to be no end in sight to such activities - most of them illegal - that the administration seems to have turned a blind eye to. It is right now where the law enforcers in our hills will have to act quick.

The message in short - The number one priority for the government should be to ensure it that affected families are resettled and that adequate relief and medical supplies and manpower are in place to deal with this largely natural and also manmade chaos.

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