INCESSANT rainfall has raised water levels of rivers across many districts in the northern parts of Bangladesh resulting in flooding. Hundreds of thousands of people are now flood-stricken. Yet, reportedly, there is a general lack of coordinated relief operations for the affected communities. Items like drinking water, food and essential medication form part of any flood relief operation. This time round, people apparently have been left to fend for themselves. We are informed that due to erratic weather patterns, the country may be experiencing further heavy downpour in the coming weeks. Given the forecast, emergency relief operations need to get off the ground immediately.
The Brahmaputra River in Kurigram district has recorded water levels 13 centimetres above safety level and has adversely affected some 150,000 people in 40 unions. A similar scenario exists with all major rivers that has caused flooding and played havoc not just with people's lives but seriously damaged agricultural production. While some food aid has been despatched to the affected districts, the supplies are not enough to meet the demand. With so many people waterlogged who have neither the means nor the capacity to move to safer areas, it is high time that authorities responded to the woes of the flood affected people.
And with early warning of further adverse weather headed our way, we expect the authorities to speed up relief operations. And side by side, a post flood relief and rehabilitation programme should be worked out to help the affected to overcome the losses.