Flood victims still await government assistance | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:24 AM, August 11, 2020

Editorial

Flood victims still await government assistance

Urgent rehabilitation is crucial

We are worried about those flood victims who have not received any government relief yet, according to reports. It is unfortunate that amidst the pandemic, floods have wreaked havoc across the nation, and countless people have been made homeless as a result. Many of the victims took shelter on dams, dykes and educational institutions during the flood, and some have returned to their place of residence when the water receded, only to find their homes and croplands damaged or even worse, devoured by the mighty rivers. The flood-hit people, mostly from Bogura, Nilphamari and Sylhet, are in desperate conditions without any means of income or government assistance, while spending their days under the open skies.

According to the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre, over 54 lakh people under 163 upazilas of 33 districts have been affected by floodwater and the government has so far allocated Tk 4.18 crore, 16,510 tonnes of rice, Tk 2.88 crore for fodder and Tk 1.40 crore for baby food for people in the flood-affected districts. Moreover, 300 bundles of corrugated iron sheets and Tk 9 lakh have been allocated for rebuilding the victims' houses. While it is reassuring that aid is being provided, not everybody who needs them the most are receiving it. Add to that the severe shortage of medical facilities and supplies to address the increasing number of patients falling sick to waterborne diseases, and the fact that there is a lack of rehabilitation programmes for the victims, and it seems quite clear that their situation will only worsen.

Authorities claim that government aid—money and food—was mostly directed towards victims of river erosion, and they were also planning to provide corrugated iron sheets soon for rebuilding purposes following approval from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. But what about the other victims who are suffering and who cannot afford to repair their destroyed homes? And what good will money do when they are unable to commute or purchase their necessities? As rehabilitation remains a far cry in many regions, and as the government is yet to identify all the affected people, most of the victims continue to suffer helplessly. Therefore, the government should allocate the necessary resources to all the flood-hit regions in order to provide systematic assistance immediately. Those affected do not have time to wait—they are hungry, homeless and without basic sanitation facilities. The government must help them build their homes again and address their needs now.

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