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Farmers in flood affected haors need help

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VOICING grave concern over the recent inundation of a vast area of cropland in the haor region due to flash flood, President Abdul Hamid on Sunday asked the authorities concerned to build embankments using a better technology to protect the haor dwellers from early flooding. The President has rightly noted that the haor people survive struggling with nature and frequently become victims to natural calamities. But the loss of this year's flash flood in the haor areas is too big and unprecedented.  It is threatening the existence of the haor people because they live with the single harvest for the entire year as Boro paddy grows once in a year.  We must say President has spoken on the miseries of the flood affected people and it is time the concerned government Ministries and Water Development Board's officials must rush to the flood hit areas and stand by the affected people. Farmers grow food for them and for the nation. They must be protected now at the hours of their need.    

The croplands in haor areas of Kishoreganj, Sunamganj, Netrakona, Habiganj and Brahmanbaria get inundated due to the damage of embankments just before the harvesting of Boro paddy, intensifying their sufferings. President Hamid called upon the affluent section of society to stand by the affected haor dwellers to help them address their sufferings. Meanwhile, the President has also talked to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about the overall situation in the haor region and the sufferings of the people living there. We believe that the helpless people need immediate help for survival and easy loan, seeds and other agricultural inputs to grow food at high land where possible. Moreover people would need health precaution support from water borne diseases once flood water will recede. 

It is noticeable that embankments to protect haor areas built with crores of takas easily collapsed with the gushing of water for using poor quality construction materials. That type of corruption is prevalent in infrastructure buildings. It is also evident from the dilapidated schoolhouses in our coastal areas to the collapse of a part of the Moghbazar flyover in Dhaka itself. We are now using crores of takas to beautifying  footpaths of Gulshan and Banani, but how can we save our haor people is nobody's interest.

Flood is not anything new in the country particularly at the low-lying districts but early flood is largely unanticipated that hit the northeastern districts before the harvest season begins.  Reports said some farmers have already died of heart attack seeing their crops washed away. But the question is why we don't have strong embankments and early warning system when much of the floodwater comes from down pour in the hilly districts on Indian side of the border. In our view our flood protection system must be reviewed in the light of early flood in low-lying areas.   

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