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Wednesday, October 17, 2018 03:59:29 AM
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No initiative to help the cold wave victims

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PEOPLE of the northern districts and countrymen in general have started experiencing the season's first cold wave. The sweeping bone-chilling cold, coupled with wind and fog that began on Wednesday, has disrupted normal life in northern districts and the marginal people across the country, among whom we can add the Rohingya refugees, who are living in makeshift houses are suffering most. Poor and disadvantaged people in the northern district bore the brunt of the cold as flashfloods in last August damaged their homes, destroyed their crops, and washed livestock away. The Met Office warned of the coming cold wave in the upcoming weeks but no preparedness from the government is seen as of yet. The district administrations should start relief works in the northern districts Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Dinajpur, Bogra and also Cox's Bazar where Rohingya people are residing.
The lowest temperature in the country was recorded at 6.3 degrees Celsius in Chuadanga yesterday. Doctors warn that the number of patients, especially children and the elderly suffering from cold-related ailments like pneumonia and diarrhea, who are thronging to hospitals might further increase in the coming days. Dense fog and strong cold winds hit Chuadanga, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon, and Dinajpur hard. Many opted to stay indoors there. The sun was not visible in most of these districts. At least two children died of cold-related diseases in Chuadanga and Kurigram on Thursday.
With the shivering cold sweeping across the country, thousands of children, especially the newborn infants, are suffering from various cold-related diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, bronchiolitis, asthma, fever, cough and cold. The children wards at the hospitals in the northern region are full of children, but many of their parents seek alternatives due to lack of doctors and attendants. Most of these children suffer from the cold-related diseases, which cause breathing problems and even death.
The persecuted Rohingya people living in makeshift houses and without basic amenities are suffering the most. The children and elderly people are most vulnerable to disease. The international community gave assurances to send relief to the several million Rohingya people but the inflow of aid is very poor. They need warm clothes, including blankets.
The government should take vigorous employment and alternative employment activities in the northern districts aiming at bringing the ultra poor out of the lower poverty line. As the youth people fall into seasonal unemployment during winter their plights multiply in the season. Planned actions to bring the fruit of economic growth to the poor segment of the society can only be helpful if the poor get an advantage. Until that, providing adequate relief remains the solution.

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