According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), water levels in different rivers of the country may rise again by the end of this month and may continue to rise till mid-September, leading to fresh flooding in some areas. Reportedly, although water levels in all major rivers, including the Padma, Jamuna, Brahmaputra and Kushiara, are showing a falling trend, seven rivers at eight points across the country are still flowing above the danger level. This is concerning because people already have suffered so much due to prolonged flooding. However, according to experts, there is no possibility of severe flooding in these areas.
Around 40 percent of the country was inundated by flooding this year. According to the latest report of the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre (NDRCC), over 54 lakh people have so far been affected by floods and they had to endure such sufferings for about 45 days in phases. The number of flood shelters were inadequate compared to the number of people who needed it. Only 40,000 people along with their livestock took shelter at flood shelters in different districts, according to the FFWC report. Floods have damaged crops worth about Tk 350 crore till mid-July. Many farmers fear they will not be able to cultivate Aman paddy in the upcoming months as most of their seedbeds have been destroyed.
As the overall flood situation is improving across the country, it is time for the government to take proper rehabilitation programmes and run relief operations efficiently. Reconstructing or repairing the damaged infrastructure and embankments should be a priority for the government. Those who have lost all their belongings to floods would need the government's support in rebuilding their homes and those who lost their livelihoods need help to earn a living.
Crisis of safe drinking water is a major issue in the affected areas which needs to be addressed with due importance. The government's medical teams should immediately start providing treatment to the people who have been suffering from various water-borne diseases. Besides, farmers should be provided with Aman seedlings immediately as those need to be planted by this month. And preparations should be in place to face fresh floods in the new areas.
The prime minister has given specific directives to deal with these issues in a recent cabinet meeting. We hope the government authorities concerned will follow these directives on an urgent basis.