Take measures to combat river erosion
It is alarming to know that river erosion has reached alarming levels in about eight districts including Kurigram and Lalmonirhat, damaging homes, farmlands and educational institutions. According to a report, multiple rivers, including the Brahmaputra, Teesta, Dharla, Dudhkumar, and Gangadhar, are eroding the banks in at least 60 locations. In Kurigram, about 280 homes, three schools, and a college have been washed away, while in Lalmonirhat, about 20 homesteads have disappeared. Many farmlands and over 500 homesteads are also reported to be under threat.
The figures provided by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) paint a gloomy picture of devastation being caused by river erosion. It shows how a predictable seasonal menace has been allowed to wreak havoc thanks to a lack of timely action by those in charge. Elderly individuals like Hajera Bewa, who lost her house and arable land, now find themselves destitute and compelled to start anew. There has been even an instance of an entire village being swallowed by the Dharla river, as per the account of 40-year-old Shukcharan Barman in Lalmonirhat. Their pleas for help and lasting solutions resonate with the anguish of the affected and at-risk communities.
In Tangail, where the Jamuna reportedly washed away over 100 houses, villagers even demonstrated by blocking roads.While administrative efforts to combat river erosion through the placement of sandbags and concrete blocks are commendable, it is clear that these measures are insufficient to address the magnitude of the problem. The need for long-term solutions, including the construction of embankments and permanent dams, cannot be overstated. It is also vitally important – as monsoon continues to bring more rain, not just in these districts but also many other parts of the country – that the government allocates sufficient resources to relief and rehabilitation efforts. It is crucial that these efforts focus not only on short-term aid but also on sustainable solutions enabling local communities to become more resilient to future disasters.
We must prioritise the development of robust infrastructure that can withstand the erosive power of our rivers during monsoon.