Over 5.17 lakh extremely poor people of 1.33 lakh char households have been effectively escaping floods following plinth-raising in the low-lying riverine char islands on the Brahmaputra basin in recent times.
It became possible following raising plinths of houses under the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) to help these beneficiary char families in escaping floods as well as saving properties during floods in ten riverine northern districts.
According to official sources, the CLP has been working with extremely poor households living on riverine island chars with comprehensive approaches to improve livelihoods since 2004 in association with a number of NGOs on the Brahmaputra basin.
The UKaid through the Department for International Development (DFID) and Australian Government through Australian Agency for International Development have been jointly funding implementation of the CLP that will be ended by this year.
Under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural
Development and Cooperatives and management through Maxwell Stamp Plc, the CLP is being executed by the Rural Development and Cooperatives Division.
Plinth-raising of houses has factually became blessings for the beneficiary landless char families to achieve self-reliance through various income generation activities and lead better life bidding permanent good-bye to decades-old extreme poverty.
According to CLP sources, 55,000 households under phase-I (2004-2010) and over 78,000 households under phase-II (2010-2016) have been brought under the programme to improve livelihoods of the extremely poor char households by 2016.
Beginning with plinth-raising, the multi-dimensional CLP activities are being implemented by different NGOs in the riverine char islands to assist the char people in adapting with adverse situations amid changing climate to improve livelihoods.
Agriculture and Environment Coordinator Mamunur Rashid of RDRS Bangladesh, one of the CLP implementing organisations, said CLP is being implemented on char areas in Kurigram, Bogra, Gaibandha, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Pabna and Tangail districts.
“The comprehensive programme has been helping the have-nots group char people in adapting with climate change to achieve self-reliance through various income-generating activities under adverse situations beginning with plinth raising” he added.
Talking to BSS recently, CLP beneficiaries Anwara Khatun, Delwara Khanom, Parul Begum and Aklima Khatun, of different char villages narrated as how they escaped floods for the ninth consecutive time during the last rainy season.
Beneficiaries Kajoli Begum, Lal Banu and Shahera Begum of Ghughumari Char and Halima Begum of Char Krishnapur in Kurigram, Rahela and Kulsum Begum of Purbo Char Gunai village in Rangpur termed plinth-raising as their savior during floods.
“We remained safe with our all properties, essentials and cattle-heads and also helped our neighbours providing shelters during the recent floods on our raised plinths like in the previous years,” smiling char women Mamtaz and Jahura said with satisfactions.
Former Astomirchar union chairman Sohrab Hossain said floodwaters could not inundate houses of the CLP beneficiaries who also have access to sanitation, safe drinking water, healthcare, hygiene and nutrition for mothers and children in char areas.
Chilmari upazila chairman Shawkat Ali Sarker, Bir Bikram, said char people have been escaping floods successfully for plinth-raising of their houses under the comprehensive CLP that also assists them in becoming self-reliant amid adverse situations.
Executive Director of Northbengal Institute of Development Studies Dr Syed Samsuzzaman said the CLP’s plinth- raising has been effectively helping the char people in escaping floods, saving properties and improving livelihoods.
Editor of the Weekly Juger Khabar being published from Chilmari in Kurigram Nurul Amin Sarker said the CLP beneficiaries are rearing domestic animals, poultry birds and cultivating vegetables, fruits on raised homesteads to change their fortune.