It is very unfortunate that the flood victims of Sirajganj have yet to receive any assistance from the government to rebuild their houses washed away by the devastating flood. According to Sirajganj Relief and Rehabilitation Office, over 3,079 families of 408 villages in five upazilas were displaced by the recent flood. These people are still living in the flood protection embankment, open fields and roads, which were also badly affected. These flood victims—day labourers, farmers, fishermen, small businessmen, etc.—have lost all their belongings and need urgent help to rebuild their homes and start afresh. Those who borrowed money from local money lenders at high interest rates to rebuild their homes do not know how they would pay off the debt since they have lost their livelihoods. But as this daily reported on August 19, no help from the government has reached them as yet.
We always hear from the government that Bangladesh has attained laudable success in managing natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. But it is clear from this year’s experience that in terms of flood preparedness, we still have many shortcomings. Reportedly, relief and rescue operations were not carried out promptly in many affected areas and there were delays in releasing funds for such efforts. And now that the flood water has started receding, we have come to know that the fund for rehabilitation has not been allotted by the government yet. Such delays in releasing funds will only increase the sufferings of the flood victims.
Natural disasters such as floods are unavoidable but we can manage and reduce the risks associated with them by planning ahead. We hope the government will make proper plans to rehabilitate the affected people by ascertaining the actual losses and immediately allotting funds for this purpose.