Permanent measures needed to protect poor from cold
WITH temperature falling to single digit in most parts of the country, people at large have been facing a chilling cold for the last couple of days. The Met office, according to a New Age report on Thursday, recorded on Wednesday the day’s lowest temperature in Dinajpur at 3.2 degrees Celsius, the lowest in more than forty years, while the mercury plummeted to 3.5 degrees Celsius at Saidpur, 3.9 degrees Celsius at Iswardi and 7.2 degrees Celsisus in the capital Dhaka on that day. Worse still, as the Met forecast says, at least two more spells of cold wave, moderate or extreme, are on the cards in this month.
As seen on such previous occasions, the biting cold, coupled with chilly wind coming from the Himalayan region, has affected overall public life in many areas, though, at varying degrees. While city dwellers have to cut short their outdoor activities as much as possible, the people living in the northern districts, including Dinajpur, have largely had to stay indoors. To top it all, the poor and marginalised people in general and those living in slums across the capital and in northern region in particular have been the worst victims of the situation. Lacking warm clothes, though aplenty at local markets, for understandable reasons, they are literally left in the lurch when it comes to fighting cold.
In such a condition, it is indeed harder for them, who mostly live from hand to mouth, to come out of home in search of work defying a biting cold. It is also little wonder that under the prevailing circumstances, elderly persons, along with children, belonging to these strata have increasingly been exposed to various cold-related diseases. Meanwhile, the measures, including distributing warm clothes, undertaken so far by the government to save the victims have proved paltry compared to the need.
Predictions have it that, thanks to the adverse impact caused by climate change, an issue that has already given rise to concern not only among experts but also the public, the country is increasingly likely to be hit by similar cold waves in the years to come. It is, therefore, imperative for the government to undertake effective and sustainable measures to shield the helpless people from the scourge of winter without any delay.
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