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Find out how the floods in Bangladesh affect the lives of the people and they try to cope with the seasonal floods.
Tags:flood management in bangladesh,dealing with floods in bangladesh,earth report,flood season in bangladesh,floods in bangladesh,impact of floods in bangladesh,television for the environment,tve
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Flood Management in Bangladesh
Narrator: The flood season should’ve finished, but life in Bangladesh is not that predictable.
Female: Ten or twelve days ago, the river took everything. Tin roofs were blown away and the people were scared by the river. So we came to live on the embankment.
Male: The problem is we have no enough rice, no water nor latrine. Our house and land have been taken by the river. We have so many problems.
Male: We cut the palm leaves to make shelters, but where can we go? Somehow we manage but we have no food.
Narrator: Farther north on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, the villages of Kutipara are just getting over with the most recent flood.
Jannat Begum: In our area, the floods came four times, many were affected and some people even starved. People with wheat seeds had to eat them and those with mustard seeds sold them to buy food. Otherwise, people would have kept them because October is the time to sow and reap another harvest.
Narrator: No one knows why four floods have hit the area this year but some of the villagers have their own theories.
Jamilla Begum: The river became very angry. They cut off the river and put a dam on it. So the flood thought, “Oh, you want to trick me? I'll show you my trick!” Overnight, heavy rain washed away the dam and the river returned to normal.
Narrator: The Teesta barrage was built in 1990 with a cost of more than 100 million U.S. dollars. It was supposed to prevent the kind of flooding that hit Jamilla and Jannat’s village this year.
Jamilla Begum: We were in the water for 15 days. When the water went down, we were left with mud, nothing but mud. Many diseases broke out amongst the children like diarrhea, dysentery and fever.
Narrator: Often, people are forced to rely on their own ingenuity to survive. Curing for a handful of lives could involve a long and humiliating wait.
Jannat Begum: After four floods, we only got four days’ worth of aid; half a kilo of wheat and half a kilo of rice and nothing else.
Narrator: While emergency relief is welcome, people are usually forced to rely on their own ingenuity to survive and rebuild their lives after a flood. Jannat helps her family get back on its feet by running a small business. They are less dependent on farming and in times of flood, have saving to fall back on.
Jannat Begum: The People’s Development Centre gave me a loan. My husband used to work as a carpenter in a sweet factory. I said to him, “Why don’t we try and get some equipment of our own? Then we could make our own sweets and supply them to the shops.”
Pressing them like this is how we make the sweets. Then we wrap them with a label in each pack. Then we supply them to the different shops.
With 50 kilos of sugar, we can work for two days then, we take the sweets to the market. With the profit, we buy another 50 kilos of sugar and start all over again. We calculate our expenses on the basis of 50 kilos of sugar and two kilos of firewood.
Narrator: A small loan and some business training seems a good way to help Jannat’s family look forward to a less precarious future. Instead of just surviving the floods from year-to-year, Jannat now has long term plans both for herself and for her family.
Jannat Begum: First star roof, then a tin roof. Soon, perhaps we’ll have a concrete house. I want my children to have better lives. I want to educate my daughter. So, that’s my plan, that’s why we need the profit from the business.
Male: My house was to the west of the sluice gate when the trouble started. I moved to the south. Then when the embankment collapsed, I moved onto the barrier. Now, we’re on the barrier but the more it erodes, the further back we have to move.
Now, we've been pushed on the top of the hill. How many people are up there now, about 1500.
Narrator: If flooding a perennial problem, it's easy to see the temptation to spend money on large infrastructures. But when embankments frequently collapsed and their only use is as a temporary home, it would seem that the million spent would be better deployed on loans or business trade for people like Jannat.
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