Sunday, August 9, 2020 | ePaper

Rehabilitate cyclone-hit people in an emergency basis

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CYCLONE Bulbul has affected huge areas of crops and fish farms in the southern coastal districts, according to preliminary reports by the government agencies concerned. The cyclone, which swept over the southern belt, affected nearly 21,809 ponds and shrimp farms, causing farmers, in mostly Barishal and Khulna divisions, losses of Tk 43.21 crore, as per data of the Department of Fisheries (DoF). Some 2,202 tonnes of fish, including 200 tonnes of shrimps, were washed away as the farms were inundated due to heavy rain and tidal surges.
The government must also ensure that the Sundarbans get relief from all sorts of domestic and international tourists--it took the brunt of the storm and it must be given time to heal. So, all sorts of commercial activity, including fishing and forestry, must be banned from the Sundarbans for at least a month to give it time to recover. It plays a vital role in stopping the force of almost all cyclones coming into Bangladesh, and this time it's no exception. Destruction of the Sundarbans means destruction of the only natural barrier standing between us and major storms.
The government, in concord with the local administration of the most cyclone prone areas, must do more to ensure that the lives and property of the people living in these districts are safeguarded also to make certain that the loss in property and lives is minimal or nonexistent. To this end they can build up cyclone shelters which can house both people and domestic animals. A better system of enforcement of warnings for cyclones is also essential--they should send SMS's to all the people living in the coastal belts.
More preventive measures are the need of the hour--after all prevention is better than cure--and there is no cure for the loss of lives of people and cattle. Rehabilitation is next--and here the government must ensure that relief reaches the people who need them--and that they are not sold and the revenues are not pocketed by so-called political and local administration's big shots.

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