6 years ago

Task the government shouldn't forget

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All attention is now focused on Rohingyas coming in their thousands almost every day since the military crackdown began in the last week of August in Rakhine state of Myanmar to drive out minority Muslim population.



The government has concentrated all its efforts to provide food and shelter to the fleeing Rohingyas. The world too has started responding to this unfolding humanitarian crisis. The Muslim world and many Western countries have strongly condemned the military atrocities against the Rohingyas and they have started making available humanitarian aid for the rehabilitation of a large number of displaced population.



There is no denying that without outside support, it is impossible for Bangladesh to provide food and shelter to nearly 450,000 Rohingyas. Then again, almost an equal number of Rohingyas driven out of their homeland since late seventies were living in Bangladesh before the latest arrivals. Initially, the relevant UN agencies had made available help for those Rohingyas. But after some time that was suspended. The same is also likely to happen for the new arrivals. Though the world is pressing Myanmar to take back the displaced Rohingya population, none can be sure of that happening anytime soon.



Amidst all the hullabaloos over Rohingya issue, the administration has possibly forgotten an important task --relief and rehabilitation of the people affected by successive floods. Nothing much is heard from the people in the government about what is being done to help the flood-hit villagers.



The people in flood-hit areas have lost their crops and many their homes. Roads and other infrastructures have been damaged. Alongside the food aid, what these people need is immediate repair of roads and other infrastructures, including schools. 



It is not known what the ministry of disaster management and relevant other agencies have been doing in the affected areas to help people start their life anew.  Nothing has come out from them about the relief and rehabilitation work.



The resilience of the people in this part of the world has been acclaimed all over the world time and again. Frequent visits by natural calamities such as floods and cyclone have helped them develop that capacity. They have showed their resilience level following the great natural disasters like 1988 floods and cyclones in 1991, 2007 and 2009.



The administration, too, received global accolades for its disaster management capabilities. Yet the natural disaster-hit people, despite their unparalleled capacity to cope with natural disasters, do need government support in their own post-disaster rehabilitation work.



True, the issue of ensuring food and shelter for the fleeing Rohingyas is far more serious than the rehabilitation of the flood-affected local population. The sufferings that the latter are now facing are limitless. Many Rohingya families have lost all their male members. The brutal Myanmar security forces have killed them. Their houses have been burnt to ashes. The whole world is moved by tragedy that has been unfolding in Rakhine state.



But the government, while attending the most pressing issue of Rohingya rehabilitation, should not forget its own people hit by the latest floods. It needs to take into cognizance the issue of record high prices of rice and the coming lean period when seasonal employment in the countryside remains too scarce.

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