Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | ePaper

Flood victims yet to get enough support

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GOVERNMENT and aid agencies have provided emergency relief for flood victims but not sufficient to settle flood victims as per media reports quoting Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) researchers who tried to figure out the distribution system in the Haor areas. Over 37 lakh people were affected in the floods in as many as 19 districts and at least 10 lakh are still in need of immediate assistance.
Questions remain where most of the relief and rehabilitation materials have gone and who must be held responsible. There is no clear answer although it is not unknown that inefficient and corrupt distribution system and dishonest people involved in the distribution must he held accountable. The insensitivities of the government left the poor deprived. The findings were revealed at a post flood discussion at CIRDAP auditorium on Thursday.
Recent flood has literally destroyed north and north-east part of Bangladesh and is considered the worst in 20 years. The flood hit areas house some of the poorest people and the amount of the damage would require long-term rebuilding efforts. Children, women, elderly people and those with disabilities are among the most helpless, as they are less resilient against disruption to their livelihoods. Crops have been rigorously affected. Many have lost their homes, household items and job opportunities.
The Brussels-based European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHAO) said out of 82 lakh people affected by floods, 400,000 have been displaced as over 280,000 houses have been either fully or partially damaged. According to the estimation of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) more than 1.25 lakh hectares of cropland went under floodwater this year and crops, mainly paddy, of around 20,000 hectares were completely damaged. Bangladesh government has allocated 10,060 tonnes of rice to 19 affected districts as well as Tk 4.29 crore in cash and dry food worth Tk 2.8 crore to the affected population. But post flood management has not been done successfully. Government support has covered only 68.4 percent of the total farmers affected by flood.
Due to lack of proper management and corruption, it may be difficult to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Natural calamity is a global phenomenon. We need to learn how to deal with it. Flood Control Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud admitted that large scale mismanagement of the flood control system at Haor areas resulted in widespread damages and theft and misuse of resources by contractors and local officials were mainly blamed for it.
But if the relief and rehabilitation system also suffer from insufficient allocations marred with equal theft, corruption and mismanagement, there is little hope for the poor to come out of the havoc they suffered from the floods. There must be a total review of the system not to allow it to use as illegal fortune making of dishonest people.

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