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Flood affected people left with no source of income

Many of the people affected by the South Asian floods are now finding their opportunities for employment almost non-existent.

Until the agricultural sector and other businesses that have been affected by the floods begin to resume their operations, people are facing the possibility of having no source of income. Large numbers of these people were already living in conditions of extreme poverty even before the floods struck.

 

As a result of this, there is a risk that people will become indebted to exploitative money-lenders in order to purchase the food necessary for their family’s survival. As time goes on, if families have no means of generating income they will become increasingly reliant on this.

It is also feared that widespread unemployment will lead to further urban migration. Recent reports claim that each day around 3,000 flood affected people are migrating to Dhaka, Bangladesh’s largest city. Professor Atiur Rahman of the Department of Development Studies at Dhaka University said that “this is frightening. Dhaka does not have the space, neither physical nor economic, for so many people. If the flow continues for more than a month we should prepare ourselves to face a catastrophe.”

It is vital that some assistance is given to help people find employment in this crucial post-flood period. Concern is currently planning a “cash for work” programme that will create employment for 9,000 people who currently have no work opportunities. This intervention aims to prevent these families from having to leave their homes or becoming trapped in a vicious cycle of debt.

The programme will involve them working together to repair or reconstruct their own houses and the houses of other vulnerable families. They will also work on repairing school grounds and killas – raised places where people can take shelter during flood. This will help reduce their vulnerability to future floods, as well as providing them with employment. Each person selected for the programme will get the opportunity for 45 days work and will receive 100 Taka daily, a reasonable wage in comparison to local markets.

The “cash for work” programme will help the flood affected people survive until they can begin harvesting the winter crops. It is also expected that during this period the agricultural and business sectors will gradually restart their operations. As this happens, people will once again be able to find work.