We are worried to learn that this year's flood is likely to continue till mid-August which may eventually worsen the sufferings of more than 25 lakh people in the affected districts. Already more than a third of the country has been affected by severe flooding. Experts fear that this flood is going to be one of the worst the country has experienced in recent memory as it may outlast the 1998 flood. According to the Department of Disaster Management, since June 26, floods have claimed 24 lives, damaged thousands of houses, crops, roads and embankments in at least 90 upazilas of the 24 affected districts.
Flood-hit people in northern and north-western regions have been going through immense sufferings for lack of adequate supply of food, pure drinking water and shelter. Waterborne diseases have become a major concern in the affected areas while flood shelters were submerged in many areas forcing people to take shelter under the open sky. In many severely affected remote areas, there is no flood shelter and the government's relief assistance does not also reach there. Absence of toilet and sanitation facilities has become a big issue for women. This flood has also come as a big blow for the country's food production as, according to our report, crops worth nearly Tk 350 crore have already been damaged.
Under the circumstances, the government should take immediate measures to reduce the sufferings of the flood-hit people by building more flood shelters, providing them with pure drinking water and food, and ensuring healthcare services in the shelters and affected areas. Special care needs to be taken for the children so they do not get infected with waterborne diseases. Also, plans should be in place to provide the farmers with seedlings immediately after the floodwater recedes and to compensate them for the crop loss. All the government agencies concerned need to work together to lessen people's sufferings and better manage the overall flood situation.