Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

The cold wave casualties
Could we not save the victims?
The news of at least 40 people already dying in cold is poignantly tragic because such fatalities could have been avoided with precautions. Hundreds continue to suffer, mostly belonging to the poorer section of the populace. People continue to be hospitalised with cold related diseases, where often treatment is not being possible due to non-availability of such life saving equipment like the Nebulizers.

Reportedly the DC of Nilphamari in a desperate bid has already sent a fax to authorities at the capital requesting urgent supply of 10 thousand blankets since the District Relief Officer did not have adequate stock of warm clothes. We find it rather strange that there was no preparedness to meet the predictable exigency. It is particularly inexplicable when deaths and hardship of people in certain regions of the country have become a yearly phenomenon.

If we are able to bring about self sufficiency in food, a task of far greater complexity and dimension, it should be quite possible for us to deal with this humanitarian problem of lesser magnitude, more so, since there is a pattern in the advent of such cold waves every year. The pattern makes it possible for weather experts not only to predict the onset but also the locations it might strike. This in turn should make the job of the administration easier to deal with. Besides the preparedness strategy to tackle the emerging situation is quite simple and workable.

Let the administration, the NGOs and the community together rise to the occasion and come forward to mitigate the sufferings of the people due to cold, now and in the future. However, needless to say, that the administration has to take the lead in this regard. Let no one die or suffer due to our negligence, apathy and carelessness from here onwards at the time of the greatest need.