We have to live with floods: PM
‘We can’t stop natural disasters but can control damage’
As deadly floods swept through the country’s northeastern region, the prime minister called on the authorities to emphasise damage limitation in their plans to combat natural calamities.
“We live in a region where flooding happens quite often, which we have to keep in mind. We must prepare for that,” Hasina said at a news briefing in Dhaka on Wednesday.
While floods may be inevitable in a riverine country like Bangladesh, the damage they could potentially wreak can be controlled, according to Hasina.
“We haven’t faced a crisis like this for a long time. Infrastructure must be built to cope with such disasters.”
The government is working hard to rescue the flood-affected people and provide necessary relief to them, she said.
“We deployed different agencies including the army, navy and air force to rescue people. In some cases, we’ve ensured that people are airlifted.”
The leaders and activists of the Awami League and its affiliated organization’s are also working to rescue people, Hasina noted.
“It’s a combined effort by all.”
Hasina said the people in Sylhet had never seen such a devastating flood. They experienced 976 mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period.
“The water coming from Meghalaya and Assam has affected the Sylhet region,” Hasina said, adding the water will recede soon but the southern part of Bangladesh is likely to be flooded too. “We should prepare to combat it.”
Earlier, she said she gave directives to break some parts of the roads, if necessary, to ensure a smooth outflow of floodwaters in Sylhet.
The government has already set up 1,285 flood shelters in the region but will set up more. The infrastructure should be built accordingly, enabling it to combat floods and other natural disasters.
“Three hundred medical teams are currently working on the ground. Until Tuesday, 900 tonnes of rice, Tk 33.5 million in cash aid and 55,000 packets of dry food and other items have been distributed in 11 flood-affected districts,” she said.
Hasina, however, pointed out that the risk of floods in Bangladesh usually persists until September and called on her administration to prepare accordingly.
The Awami League chief also thanked the media for shedding light on the crisis at different times, while urging the wealthy to help those affected by the floods.