Surviving floods within sight
Sunday, 06 July 2008

Floods may come a little early this year spreading miseries amongst an already harassed population. The extent of flooding may not be of 1955 or 1998 levels but in the given situation of today even a much lesser onslaught will result in widespread sufferings. Two major rivers are already flowing above the danger levels and others, numbering about 61, are about to cross the danger levels. Added to this is the extensive erosion that has already devoured many settlements across the country. The Weather Office has forecast several more days of heavy rainfall. Two mighty rivers, the Ganger and the Brahmaputra, fall into the Bay of Bengal flowing over this land. And these have hundreds of small, medium and big tributaries. In the days bygone annual flooding was considered a blessing as they added to the fertility of the soil. Green Bangladesh where anything grows without much result was the gift of nature. But as river beds continue to rise for want of necessary dredging floods have become a curse. This year the situation is especially critical in the sense that people are already hard hit by spiraling prices and political uncertainties. The ill-advised hike in the fuel prices has further aggravated the situation. Now if floods engulf us that will be a real disaster. This is the time when seed beds for aman and winter vegetables are readied all over the country. If floods destroy them the impact will be disastrous. But there is nothing anybody can do to avoid this. Therefore, the question is whether the caretaker government is prepared to tackle the situation if floods really come. We do not think the government's buffer stock of food grains is enough to carry us through this difficult period. Heavy rains during the past few days have already caused widespread water logging in the capital. With natural canals filled by illegal encroachers the inadequate drainage system is not enough to drain out rain waters. Now if flood waters invade the city all its low lying areas will go under water. And if floods really come in a big way the armed forces shall have to be deployed for relief and rescue operations.

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