For most of the year, Bangladesh is not a country that sees much in the way of cold weather. However, given the severity of the weather lately, it is time that we start bracing for even colder winters moving forward.
However, it is the poor, the un-housed, and all those who call the streets home who suffer the most in cases of extreme weather. In Kurigram, for instance, daily wage earners are finding it increasingly difficult due to the biting cold and dense fog which have enveloped the locality.
Certainly climate change plays a big part in the sudden, massive drops in the mercury for us. As a nation that is particularly vulnerable to its ravaging effects, we need to be prepared for extreme weather during every season.
We need to start treating harsh winters with the same level of importance that we give to floods and cyclones. Even though harsh winters may not result in livelihoods being destroyed, people still lose their lives due to lack of shelter and warmth.
To that end, the government and local communities can play a big part to mitigate the effects of such extreme winters — blanket distribution drives can be one way to achieve that, but it is imperative to ensure that the resources are reaching the most remote and poverty-stricken areas of the country.
Too often we see relief resources being pocketed by unscrupulous middle-men, and we must make sure this does not take place with drives to distribute blankets or warm clothes.
Stray animals are some of the more invisible victims of cold weather, while it may not apply to everyone, it is imperative that those capable and willing offer these poor souls the shelter that they so desperately need.
Just showing even a little bit of humanity can go a long way.