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Friday, July 31, 2020

Providing Tk 8 cash per head will be of no help for flood victims

THE government has allocated Tk 5 crore only for 50 lakh flood affected people. The minister for Disaster Management and Relief said the amount is enough, though per head cash is only Tk 8 and 3kg rice, said a report of this paper on Wednesday. The ministry said it helps only the poor and vulnerable people that are no more than 10 percent, but the pandemic and the flood push many middle-income people under extreme poverty. Usually, people of low-lying areas are the worst victims of this natural disaster. Over 50 lakh people of 150 upazilas in 31 districts have been affected by the flood. The situation may deteriorate further in the northern region as well as in the low-lying areas around the capital with possibility of more people to be affected.
However, amid the ongoing pandemic that already killed more than three thousand people, one third of the country has been flooded keeping millions of people inundated, destroying farms and livelihood and pose risk of outbreak of water borne diseases. Till Thursday around fifty people died of flood and thousands of children have been suffering from diarrhoea and water-borne diseases with acute shortage of food and drinking water. The health regulations for Covid-19, a must-follow guideline, are being breached in shelter centres, while inadequate relief, lack of water purification tablets and healthcare facilities all are worsening the situation.
In this context, allocating Tk 8 per head is really pathetic and humiliating and the example of the government's apathy to the flood hit people's sufferings. During the ongoing pandemic and flood situation, Eid comes here with no cheers and joy for many once middle-income families and the poor. However, this Eid is a religious obligation and festivity that calls affluent people to share joys and food with the poor. The true spirit of the festival --- not consumption but distribution of food and meat among poor --- may help many flood and pandemic victims to intake nutritious food. The government initiative to provide Tk 8 cash help with 3 kg rice per head will be of no help to make the flood and pandemic victims joyful.