Collective efforts to tackle disaster

Published : 22 Jun 2022 08:16 PM

As the flood situation in Sylhet and Sunamganj has deteriorated over the last week, people's lives have become miserable. The problem has taken a terrible shape in both districts. People have been obstructed from traveling from one place to another because of floodwater. 

The possible underlying cause of the deterioration of the flood situation in both the districts was heavy rainfall in Cherrapunj, India. Besides Cherrapunji, Sylhet has registered much more rainfall this year than any other year. As a result, waterlogging has been created throughout the city. Dealing with such untoward incidents is extremely difficult for any government or organisation. The biggest thing is to rescue and provide food for the waterlogged people. Performing these tasks has become complicated when there is a shackle on the movement imposed by water. Considering the gravity of the situation, the government has sent military troops to rescue the people. The Bangladesh Army has served the people at different times in the country during the danger. Outside the country, they have also been performing admirably in UN peacekeeping missions. Therefore, our pride army members are trying their best to rescue the waterlogged people and deliver food to them.

The government has instructed the civilian administration to be on high alert. More money has been allocated to deal with the flood situation. Apart from the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation, other ministries are seriously paying attention to the matter. The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives has decided to provide all kinds of assistance. The Hon'ble Minister of the Ministry has announced that if the roads are required to be cut down to release the water, they should be cut down. It is hoped that the people of Sylhet and Sunamganj will soon be relieved from the ongoing miserable situation.

Hon'ble Prime Minister is personally monitoring the flood situation in Sylhet. Newspapers have already reported about the Hon'ble Prime Minister's visit to the affected areas. We can imagine the level of love of the head of government when she visits a particular site to see the flood situation and stand by the people during danger. The Prime Minister's generosity has been reflected in this decision. Like Bangabandhu, she has always tried to make people smile in his lifetime. For most of his life, Bangabandhu remained behind the Pakistani custody to bring smiles to the faces of the people of Bangladesh. Following Bangabandhu's footsteps, the Hon'ble Prime Minister has been working relentlessly, sacrificing all her comforts to make the people of our country smile. Dealing with the flood situation in the Sylhet division is an example of her hard work.

This is not the time for pointing fingers at the government. The 

government and the opposition parties should work hand in 

hand to help the flood-victims from their respective positions

Apart from government initiatives to stand by the flood-hit people, various private initiatives have drawn the people's attention. The Vidyananda Foundation and other private initiatives have stood by the people of flood-affected areas. Awami League, Juba League and Chhatra League leaders in Sylhet and Sunamganj region have provided services to the endangered people. Although the situation is terrible, the good news is that the death toll has been brought under control. 

Many people in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts and various organisations have stood by the flood victims on their initiative. People from different parts of the country have been trying to help the flood-affected people. This is the reflection of a humane Bangladesh. Just two weeks ago, we witnessed a horrific fire at Sitakunda in Chittagong, where many lives were lost. But the way people and organisations of all professions, including the ordinary people, stood by the people at that time gave birth to indescribable feelings. There too, we saw the smiling faces of humane Bangladesh. In the same way, the government, privately-owned organisations, non-governmental organisations, and the army have all worked side by side to help the flood victims.

One party is blaming unplanned dam construction at Sunamganj Haor for the floods in Sunamganj and Sylhet. Since I am not an environmental scientist, nor do I know much about the construction of that dam, it is safe to say that the present government has for some time been taking various measures to protect the people of Haor. The implementation of that plan should not be unplanned. Maybe there was some negligence in implementing the plan. That is why the flood situation has deteriorated. However, the statements made by various environmentalists show that the leading cause of the flood is that Cherrapunj in India has received the highest rainfall in the last 50 years, while Sylhet and Sunamganj areas have received heavy rain this year.

However, it is also true that global warming and climate change have taken a massive turn. This is having a negative effect on a relatively low-lying country like Bangladesh. Judging from this, it can be said that heavy rains may be due to the impact of global warming and climate change that caused the flood. Since no one has imagined such a flood, the situation is gaining momentum. But the hope is that the meteorological office has said that the flood waters in Sylhet may start receding in the next couple of days. Therefore, we hope the situation will improve quickly when the water begins to decrease.

We all need to remember that natural disasters do not happen with notice. At any time, natural disasters can lead to humanitarian catastrophes - which we have recently witnessed in the Sylhet region. In this time of danger, everyone should stand by the flood victims without pointing fingers at each other. From the government's point of view, they are trying to save the people's lives and help the flood victims.

This is not the time for pointing fingers at the government. The government and the opposition parties should come forward to help the flood victims from their respective positions. At the same time, the rich people of society should come forward to help these people. We all know that social capital is formed out of human affection toward people, which can be essential in dealing with any disaster. We have witnessed a great example of the application of social capital in the Sitakunda fire. We all believe that Bangabandhu's Bangladesh is a humane Bangladesh where people come forward to help each other in times of danger. This is a reflection of traditional Bengal. Therefore, everyone should help each other and try to get out of danger without losing patience.

Dr. Pranab Kumar Panday is a Professor at the Department of Public Administration, University of Rajshahi