July 28, 2004


The most happening thing in Bangladesh at the moment is of course flood. I believe the world media has covered that well. But what does it mean for the people of a large portion of the country affected by the flood waters? Many of the effected people have migrated to other places. The slum dwellers are the worse hit. Those who could not find a recluse are praying for the water to recede and waiting for their misery to end. The flooding in urban areas has completely destroyed the sewerage system making the environment stench with contaminated water. If the situation prevails then there is a high chance of spreading diseases like diarrhea. The death toll does not tell the devastation the flood has caused. There are relief efforts to save the effected people but actually it is hard to tell whether these could reach all the distressed people.

Bangladesh is criss-crossed by a network of 230 rivers including major arteries which carry melting ice from the Himalaya before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. High tide in the Bay of Bengal is preventing water dispersing because the sea level is expected to remain slightly higher until the full moon on August 2. In the meantime, water dispersing from northern areas are continue to gush downstream resulting in worsening flooding in central Bangladesh. The situation would be worsened by further monsoon rains expected from first week of August.

The WFP has warned that Bangladesh could face a major humanitarian crisis in the coming days and many countries have already pledged their assistance. But Bangladesh Government is refusing to call for international help, saying its own relief efforts are enough, while several large non-governmental organizations have said it should reconsider.

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