We need all hands on deck

Jun 17, 2017
With a death toll of 150 and counting, words cannot describe the scale of the tragedy. We have always known that the hilly regions in Bangladesh are highly susceptible to landslides — a catastrophe back in 2007 claimed 128 lives in Chittagong. And yet, we have not prepared in the right way.
The priority now must be to ensure safety for now and the foreseeable future, as rains continue to be a threat to the people of the area. Certain parts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, due to the adverse effects of climate change, have seen a significant increase in rainfall, and are getting more and more dangerous every day.
Furthermore, with constant hill-cutting and unplanned deforestation, the soil has lost its stability, making the region another disaster waiting to happen. The government should now be working closely with local communities to find ways to take them out of harm’s way. We need better weather forecasting, better forest management, and more engagement with the local communities to hear their concerns.
It is something of a temporary solution to move people into tents during the monsoon season, but given the scale of the problem, we need a more lasting and sustainable answer to the problem. We cannot have more dead bodies on our conscience — the time for action is now. The government must acknowledge that there is too much at stake here, and the problem can be ignored no longer. Let us do what is required to prevent future tragedies.
Dhaka Tribune, June 17, 2017

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