Yet another monsoon season has ravaged Bangladesh, with the existing government as ill prepared as ever. More than 4.5 million people have been totally stranded and many killed in perhaps the worst flooding the country has seen. Experts are calling this the worst floods in a century. It is estimated that four million, including 1.6 million children in the north-eastern have been cut off by floods without fresh drinking water and are now at high risk of waterborne diseases. Flooding has always been a great risk and little is being done to mitigate this phenomenon that is not only recurrent but predictable!
The incompetence of the existing regime is astounding. It is well known that infrastructure within the country is decrepit and Bangladesh has remained unprepared to deal with such crises. Several rivers flow downstream from India and drain into the Bay of Bengal, but this year the excess rainwater from Assam and Meghalaya that flow into Meghna and Jamuna have not drained due to the fact that the wetlands were already saturated by pre-monsoon floods. Knowing this very well before it even transpired, policymakers have not raised a finger in pre-empting this crisis.
This failure is a direct result of policy negligence. Poor planning in infrastructure and a lack of investment is perpetuating this crisis and it is well known that many villages and towns do not have sufficient protection against the risks of flooding. For a government priding itself on growth, where are the returns being seen in areas it is needed? This farcical mantra of economic success is disguising replete failure to provide basic protection. Time and time again are the public being sold an idea they have not yet seen manifest in reality.
Uthman ibn Affan reported: the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no right for the son of Adam other than these things: a house in which he lives, a garment to cover his nakedness, a piece of bread, and water.” (Tidmidhi)
Far from relief and basic protection, Hasina’s rule has bestowed upon the people pure oppression, and the money being made in exchange for the Ummah’s blood sweat and tears is not being invested in better sewage systems, flood protection nor fortification – it is instead being used to line the pockets of a powerful yet corrupt elite that have clearly left the people to drown.
There are many scientific methods to mitigate flooding, that have been tried and tested across the world. Such methods are well documented but are not the root of this issue, which is entirely political. Only a righteous Khalifah (Caliph), who is accountable to none other than Allah (swt) will protect the people from the elements and convey to them their rights. We cannot continue to rely on a failed regime that gives birth to failed rulers who implement failed policies. It is high time we realise that flooding is not only a natural phenomenon, but also a result of governmental failure.
“Each of you is a guardian and each of you is questioned over his subjects, the Imam who is responsible over the people and he is questioned over his responsibility… each of you is a guardian and each of you is questioned over their responsibility.” (Muslim/ Bukhari)