Saturday, May 23, 2020

Amphan hit areas need immediate reclamation

THE first 'super cyclone' Amphan has caused massive damage to life and agriculture in 26 districts, while coastal dykes damage sharply. Preliminary estimation by the Ministry of Disaster Management showed that the super cyclone might cause Tk 1100 crore loss. Coastal regions hit hard and massive work needs to be done to bring life back to normal in the areas. However, the damage is much lesser than we the meteorologists feared it would be. The government must estimate the total loss, distribute relief in the affected areas, award interest-free loans for affected farmers and mango growers, help people rebuild their houses and most importantly rebuild dams and dykes sustainably.
Cyclone Amphan has killed 16 people, affected 40,800 farmers by damaging shrimp, finfish and crab worth Tk 217 crore in the south and southwest coastal divisions. The Department of Agricultural Extension said at least 2 lakh tonnes of mangoes, which is around 16 per cent of the country's total annual production, have fallen off the trees because of the cyclone. While parts of the coastal embankment were washed away in some places, cracks or breaches developed in many other points through which seawater is still entering inside the embankment, inundating dwellings of hundreds of people. Drinking water crisis would be a major issue in these areas in the coming days.
Now, the biggest challenge for the government is to minimise the sufferings of the cyclone-affected people. It should immediately start rehabilitation and relief operations in the affected areas. Safe drinking water should be made available to people. Besides, the coastal embankment should be repaired where needed on an urgent basis to stop seawater from entering inside. The government also needs to make a better plan to maintain the embankment throughout the year, as breaches in the embankment often cause sufferings to those living in the coastal areas.