Dhaka, July 4, 2022. In any disaster, the local people and organizations are the first to stand by the people affected by the disaster. Therefore, those concerned should increase the capacity of local organizations. That is why the post-flood rehabilitation activities in the Haor region must be implemented by local organizations. This was stated by the speakers at a virtual press conference organized by BDCSO process, a network of about 700 national and local CSOs and NGOs
Abdul Karim Kim, General Secretary of BDCSO Sylhet Division, presided over the press conference that was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, National Coordinator, BDCSO Process. BDCSO Sylhet Division President Tofazzal Sohel presented the keynote address on behalf of the organizers. Among others, Executive Director of AWARD Abul Kalam Azad, ADAB Sylhet Division Coordinator Babul Akhter, ADAB Sylhet District President ATM Badrul Islam, Professor of the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet Professor Zahirul Haque Shakil, and Disaster expert and writer Gowhar Naeem Wara also spoke at the occasion.
In his keynote address, Tofazzal Sohail noted that several organizations, including the United Nations, had recently surveyed the impact of the recent flood. In addition to assessing the damage, they have also verified the need for post-flood rehabilitation. It is really good if international organizations stand by the people along with the government. But we are, as always, inspired by the role of local people and local organizations in this flood. We believe that by recognizing this role, UN agencies and INGO should fund the implementation of post-flood rehabilitation programs through local organizations because local organizations understand the needs of local people best, and they can be more effective in implementing the program, the operating costs of local organizations are relatively low.
Babul Akhtar said any relief aid from outside should be coordinated with the local administration, involving local organizations. In this way, the right help can be reached to the right people. Md. Abul Kalam Azad said, we have been working with the local people for a long time. We know the news of their house and their mind best. Therefore, if any program is implemented with our participation, it is more likely to be sustainable. ATM Badrul Islam said many people are coming from far and wide to get relief around the city, but with the help of local organizations, it is possible to reach out to remote areas. Local organizations know what kind of cooperation is needed in an area. Professor Zahirul Haque Shakil said, I saw a person spending 40,000 taka and bringing relief of 10,000 taka. But if a local organization gave this relief, it could have given relief assistance of 50,000 taka. We have to think in the light of global realities, but we have to do it with local realities in mind.
Gawhar Naeem Wara said, it is now very important to determine what is needed for local rehabilitation. This demand needs to be verified by going to the local area, by the local agencies. International organizations like the IoM should now stand by the people displaced by the floods in Haor as a matter of urgency. It’s not just a flood, it’s waterlogging. Its impact is far-reaching. It is very important to appoint a relief commissioner from the secretary level in each district.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, the role of international organizations is important, but they should limit their activities to fundraising, technical assistance and monitoring, field-level activities should be implemented by local organizations and the whole process should be coordinated by the government.