Dhaka: Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on Thursday said government relief activities in the recent flood of April and August were timely but inadequate.
CPD, an independent think-tank, made the remark at a dialogue Flood 2017: Current situation and necessary actions at city’s CIRDAP auditorium in the city.
It said the recent flash floods affected about 46.7 lakh people from 10.3 lakh households, of which 85 percent households were farming households.
Under government’s Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme, it provided support to 3.8 lakh families in the haor areas for six months and the total amount of allocated rice was 66,500 MT (metric tonnes).
“Additional 62,900 MT of rice would be required to support the remaining flood affected poor households.”
CPD also said support measures for the next crop season are inadequate in view of the affected areas and also in terms of farmers under the schemes. “Unlike crop sector no support measures was taken for fisheries and livestock sectors.”
CPD also commented that the damage to a number of embankments owed to weak maintenance work programme.
CPD placed some recommendations to improve the situation which are – improve service delivery for proper utilisation of relief allocation, raising efficiency of the public food stock management system, ensure the increase number of locals participation in project implementation committee, undertake policy to establish protection walls at haor areas, periodic dredging of rivers and others.
CPD Senior Research Associate M Zafar Sadique and Estiaque Bari presented the keynote paper in the dialogue.
In the keynote paper, they said a number of support measures went to non-targeted areas. “For wheat, 11.8 percent of the total support went to non-flood affected areas while it was 6.1 and 29.2 percent for boro and maize respectively.”
Some flood-affected areas remained outside of the support programmes even though the concerned districts had significant areas covered under respective crop cultivation, they added.
“Flood-affected district Faridpur accounted for 7.2 percent of wheat cultivation area while Mymensingh accounted for 5.5 percent of boro cultivation area.”
In their research, they observed though NGOs adopted extensive relief works, these were mostly targeted to their client base.
Addressing the dialogue, Water Resources Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud said it is important to dredge the rivers and “It was our mistake not to dredge the river but now we have started dredging.”
He said the recent flood affected a lot but it was not long lasting. Except some areas, water has dropped down in most of the places.
Mentioning that government is not spending sufficient money for the maintenance purpose he said government is allocating money for project but not for maintenance and this is right time to set the policy of the water management system.
Economist Dr M Asaduzzaman, water resource and climate change specialist Ainun Nishat, CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun also spoke with distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya in the chair.