People`s sufferings from flood intensifying
AT least 7 lakh people got stranded in floodwaters in hundreds of villages in 11 northern and central Bangladesh districts after the onrush of water from upstream caused eight rivers to spill. Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre warned that almost all major rivers would continue to swell over the next three days spreading the flood further into the interior of the country. The rivers, including the mighty Jamuna, Teesta, Dharla, Surma and Kushiyara, are overflowing their banks at 14 points swelled by upto half a metre on Sunday. Amid health emergencies, the flood will increase the plights of poor and marginal people and pose a threat to food security. The government should respond immediately by allocating relief, readying flood shelter centres, preparing hospitals and health centres, providing support to farmers for early harvest, and repairing the damage embankments and dams.
News media reported that the affected districts are Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Jamalpur, Bogura, Sirajganj, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Netrakona and Tangail. In Kurigram, gushing waters flooded 3,622 hectares of agricultural land as the Dharla was flowing 71 cm above the danger mark at Dharla Bridge, and the Jamuna 72 cm and 60 cm at Chilmari and Noonkhawa respectively. In Lalmonirhat, 177 houses were washed away by the Teesta and Dharla. About 100,000 people were marooned in 85 villages in 13 upazilas as the Teesta was flowing 20 cm above the danger level at the Teesta Barrage point. In Sylhet and Sunamganj, around 450,000 people have been marooned as the huge onrush of water from upstream across the border continued.
Meanwhile, the government has distributed 410 tonnes of rice and Tk 30 lakh to the affected people in Sylhet and Sunamganj. Bangladesh Meteorological Department predicted rains in most of the places in seven of the eight divisions except Khulna in the coming days. The government must chalk out short term and long term solution for flood prevention, people protection by involving all stakeholders, dredging the rivers, controlling the water flow, setting up permanent eco-friendly embankments etc. In the pick of development, we cannot accept the century-old flood problem to continue.