In this context, sudden and untimely flooding is glaring at the haor areas. Tahirpur upazila in Sunamganj bears the first brunt of the flash flood. That’s why the levees there are under serious threat as cracks appeared in several spots. Inundation in Tanguar haor area will bring marginal loss as cultivation of boro crop is small there. But the amount of loss will be huge if the embankments are not repaired in others areas speedily.
Haor area produces rice of nearly Tk 35 billion (3,500 crore) but large portion of that is under threat, say experts. One of the ways to minimise the loss is harvesting before the onslaught of the flood. The Department of Agriculture advised the farmers to harvest if the crop has ripened 80 per cent. Repairing the cracks in embankments must be done speedily to protect the boro crops which are yet to ripe. We hope the Water Development Board would repair the levees on an emergency basis. In some cases, lack of workforce is used as an excuse. They can shift their workforce to haor areas from areas that do not have any imminent threat of flood.
People of Bangladesh play a proactive role to face national-level disasters. They extend their hands of assistance even when the government agencies remain inactive. They repaired embankments at their own initiative during the cyclonic storm Amphan. The Water Development Board could seek their help in this regard.
Flood and storms are regular phenomena. We cannot stop them but taking early steps can help mitigate the loss. It is tough for Bangladesh to control floods unilaterally as there are trans-border rivers with India. In that case, we could help each other through joint river management. Many of our rivers have lost navigability. As a result, they dry up during the summer and overflows even in small rain as they cannot hold water. We need to ensure navigability of the rivers as a permanent solution. Though the Water Development Board has spent millions in this sector there is no visible progress.
Let the Water Development Board wake up even if it is late.