BRAC expressed today that it supports the demand of local communities for authorities to postpone the leases of haor waterbodies for one year and allow people affected by the current flooding to continue open-water fishing.
BRAC organised the press conference titled ‘Haor crisis and our responsibilities’ today on Wednesday (26 April 2017) at the Sagar-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporter’s Unity. BRAC arranged the press conference focusing on the responsibilities and plans to address the crisis on a long-term basis.
Joya Sengupta, lawmaker from the Sunamganj-2 constituency, Gawher Nayeem Wahra, director, BRAC Disaster Management and Climate Change programme, and KAM Morshed, director, Advocacy for Social Change, were present at the press conference. Representatives from the grassroots development organisations were also present at the event including, Nazmul Haque, executive director, Institute of Development Affairs (IEDA), MH Talha Chowdhury, executive director, Upama – Unnayan Parikalpanay Manush, and Muhammed Musa, executive director, Chetona Paribesh O Manob Unnayan Sangstha, Faruq Ahmed, chairman, Ashtogram union council, and Bidhan Chandra Chowdhury, chairman, Sulla union council.
Jaya Sengupta said, ‘The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has already started distributing relief in the haor area. We want other organisations to come forward to the aid of the affected people as BRAC is doing.’ She further warned that if the Water Development Board fails to take immediate measures to solve the waterlogging problem of the haor area such crises will return again.
Gawher Nayeem Wahra said, ‘BRAC has already undertaken an emergency relief initiative for the five haor districts. Our initiative comprises distribution of fodder to 7,000 families and immediate assistance for 50 thousand families worth BDT 15 crore, but relief is not enough to solve this crisis. We need long-term planning with pragmatic solutions.’
Local public representatives expressed deep concern over the distribution of relief, saying that many people cannot collect the relief as they have not been properly informed of the time and place of distribution. They also demanded more budget allocation to ensure proper rehabilitation of those affected.