The flood situation has affected a large portion of the country. With the water levels of major rivers like the Jamuna, Brahmaputra and Teesta rising and incessant deluge there is little respite for the affected people. While Bangladesh claims, rightfully, to have an efficient disaster handling mechanism, the ineffective and inadequate distribution of essential food and medical aid to those stranded in various localities, belies that claim.
We see communities split apart as men try and save their livestock that will probably not survive without immediate succour. Hence, it is not just food and medicines for people but also animal feed that is sorely needed. Loss of livestock for thousands of people means the loss of the only asset they have. Yes, some relief is getting to those who need it. But what is the point of sending rice and lentil to people who are stuck in inundated areas? How will they cook the food? Today, hundreds of thousands of people need immediate access to rations that are ready-to-eat and need medication that purify contaminated water. Such meals would typically consist of flattened rice, molasses and high energy biscuits—none of which require any cooking.
That people in the affected areas are spending their days under the open sky is hardly proof of meticulous planning and execution of relief operation. The administration needs to gear up fast on contingency plans that can effectively deal with both relief and rehabilitation once the flood waters recede. Otherwise, we could be looking at a host of waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis and also measles, which will prove to be another round of headache for authorities.