Before the first leg of floods could have dissipated, comes the second spate with the prospect of its prolongation. The first visitation of floods had 14 districts under its furious spell and now many of those areas have again been affected. This time the prediction is that 23 districts may have to suffer the onslaught of greater proportion and duration. The first spate began on June 26 and after a week waters from many areas started to recede allowing some displaced people to return to their homes. Now they will be compelled to look for temporary shelters once again. It is difficult to remember when flood-affected people in the country's north have experienced such a double blow from onrushing flood waters within two weeks. Does it not look like a cruel joke played by Nature on them? Already people everywhere have been in a state of mortification on account of the rampaging coronavirus pandemic. Many of them have been forced to return to village homes losing their means of livelihoods in cities and towns. Then there are others who have been rendered homeless by river erosion.
It is a bleak picture all around. The government has to fight on many fronts at the same time. In the coastal areas, tens of thousands of people cannot return home because localities there are still under water. What is particularly worrying is that voluntary public responses to such natural calamities are wanting. International support in cash and kind too is few and far between. Primarily the affected people have to fend for themselves and then the government relief operation takes as much care as possible. The epidemic is largely to blame. When nations the world over and international organisations are struggling to cope with the virus, they have little time to focus on such additional natural calamities.
Frequencies of natural calamities have gone up this year. Heavy rains wreaked havoc in Japan and China last week. Roads, bridges, houses and other infrastructures there have been swept away by floods or buried under mudslides. In the north-east the greater Sylhet district is also experiencing floods with the prospect of triggering mudslide tragedies in stone quarries. If the prediction of floods in Chttogram also comes true, the nightmarish landslides there cannot be ruled out. All precautions should be taken to deal with possible calamities.
Evidently, the people here are known for resilience. In the face of multiple calamities, their forbearance will be tested to the limit. The virus has enforced compulsion of physical isolation but this has to be overcome with mental nearness and empathy. Society divided into the affluent and the afflicted with want must get going on a shared bond. This virus should have taught a lesson of extra generosity and charity for the needy. It is because of this extraordinary emergency, collective national and international efforts have to be pooled in order to help the distressed humanity. Charity, however, begins at home. Let the rich and the affluent come up with cash and material supports for the flood victims.