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Padma Bridge can be celebrated without making it an extravaganza

22 June 2022 Editorial Desk
Padma Bridge can be celebrated without making it an extravaganza

Climate change has made Bangladesh face more natural disasters than any other countries in the world and with more disasters; loss and damage to properties of people have also increased. Quoting the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, a report of a national daily yesterday mentioned that the country has seen a tenfold increase in the household loss and damage due to natural disasters in the period 2015-2020 compared to the period 2009-2014.

Among the natural disasters, frequent flooding has been more devastating for the country than the other climactic vagaries. Flooding alone has caused 56.4 per cent of the total loss and damage of Tk 179,198.8 crore. The poor people of the country have suffered more than people who have means to support their daily lives. The damage and loss to total income that have been suffered by the poor is 97.17 per cent while the richer ones suffered only 9.33 per cent.

Even though the increase in production cost and the size of the country's economy is the main reason behind the rise in monetary value of loss and damage, experts have rightly pointed out that the government must give the poor people more attention for bailing them out when they face disasters. People of the north-eastern region of the country are currently going through a severe deluge that has been created mostly by the onrush of water from upstream India. As usual, it is the lowest income group of people that are now in urgent need of food, drinking water and medicine to treat flood-related diseases.

When the flood waters recede, the real picture of loss and damage to households and properties including livestock will come to be known and the poor people will definitely be found to be the most victimised by the flooding. Hence, the government should give the utmost priority to increase funds for the social safety net programmes, not to mention the crying need of providing adequate relief materials to the heavily affected people now.

Right now the government is preparing for a gala inauguration of Padma Bridge with a budget of crores of taka. But the need of the hour is this programme can be made small and divert the funds to the needy people of the flood affected areas. Apart from helping the poor economically, it is also necessary to build pieces of infrastructure through a careful engineering plan so that they do not exacerbate the disaster as unplanned all-weather road construction has done to the Sylhet region for which flood waters there are taking longer time to recede.
Success of Padma Bridge can be celebrated without being extravagant in the midst of human sufferings in the flood affected areas.

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