Speakers at a programme Friday urged the authorities to repair the fragile embankments and to build sustainable dams in the coastal belt immediately as flooding chances in the upcoming rainy season threaten the lives and livelihoods of several lakhs of coastal people.
There are around 482 kilometres of embankment in Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat is fragile. A little water pressure can collapse the dams in the monsoon at around 200 points – causing losses of life and livelihood, said Nikhil Chandra Bhadra, coordinator of the Sundarbans and Coastal Protection Movement.
While speaking at the event titled "Sustainable Embankments and Immediate Action Required to Protect Coastal Areas from the Risk of Disasters" at Dhaka Reporters Unity in the capital, Nikhil said, "The embankment has been damaged by last year's super cyclone Amphan. Then the authorities visited the damaged areas and said they would take steps to repair those."
But they are yet to repair the dams, Nikhil added. He also demanded raising funds for the regular maintenance of the embankments and to form a separate coastal development board.
Addressing the occasion as the chief guest, Khulna-6 lawmaker Md Akhteruzzaman said the Water Development Board is really sincere about the embankment works but it cannot make expected progress due to the pandemic.
About the damaged embankments, the member of the parliament said tidal surge gradually ruins the dams as the soil gets washed away. Therefore, the embankments could use geotextile bags instead of only mud.
The lawmaker noted use of geo bags would also reduce corruption in embankment construction as the bags are counted and overviewed by several government organisations.
He also urged the authorities concerned to take measures so that siltation on the riverbed does not shrink down the usual waterflow.
Akhteruzzaman also recommended planting more trees on the dam as the trees hold the soil protecting the dams from erosion.