MOST of the rivers swelled in the past three days, inundating low-lying areas in the north and the north-east following heavy shower on both sides of the border. At least 4,000 people have been stranded in four villages of Lalmonirhat as the River Dharla kept swelling, sweeping away a part of the road that connected the villages to the district headquarters. About 120 metres of the road at Wapda Bazar of Kulaghat was washed away Wednesday evening after the river suddenly swelled. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre issued a flash flood alert for places in Sunmaganj and Sylhet in view of a heavy rain forecast upstream in Assam and Meghalaya. A special bulletin issued on Thursday also predicted heavy rains in the north and the north-east in two days. The rains coupled with the onrush of water from the upstream are likely to cause the Surma, Kushiyara, Kangsha, Sarigowain, Someswari, Bhugai and Jadukata rivers running through the north-eastern haor belt to swell.
The shortage of food and drinking water has aggravated the sufferings of the marooned people in Lalmonirhat. The government agencies now need to arrange for emergency relief and medical supplies for the areas. The situation also calls for further preparedness as flooding is common in the monsoon season generally spanning May to mid-October. People living in flood-prone areas are accustomed to the likes of the flooding in question. But they need support to overcome their difficult time and get back to normal life. Such help is more important for the poor and marginalised people. The government should immediately alert its agencies to the danger of flooding elsewhere in the country while they should reach the people having already been affected relief supplies, including food, drinking water and medicines. While doing so, the government needs to draw up plans for the rehabilitation of the people affected and repairs of the infrastructure that became damaged. The government should also keep such measures ready for people living in other flood-prone areas especially in the event of flooding warning that has already been sounded.
To avert any grave impact of the flooding on food security and public health, the government must, under the circumstances, work out and immediately execute a mitigation and rehabilitation plan, focused on proper distribution of medical and relief supplies among the affected people through the government network that involves agricultural, health and disaster management officials.
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