Mischievous stories about Bangladesh

It is known to all that Bangladesh gets unfair media coverage on some issues most of the time. For example, let us recall the banner headlines in a newspaper last year about the imminent earthquake to hit Bangladesh, or more specifically, Dhaka, to turn into rubble the country and its capital city. The publication of such sensational reports or comments no doubt help to raise temporarily the short term circulation of a paper. But it can be awful injurious for the national psyche or the national morale. Hardly, such news are helpful. The media reported how university students jumped from upper stories of their dormitories and suffered injuries and had to be hospitalized. Even heart attacks were linked to news flashes and comments anticipating massive earthquake in Bangladesh any time.
Clearly such undue anxieties are created by media hyping misinformation.There are other heavily populated countries such as Japan that live under the shadow of earthquakes all the time. The Japanese islands are known to shake for some moments almost every day. Massive earthquakes periodically led to huge losses of life and property in that country. The home of the Japanese is so earthquake prone that the same affected lifestyle and living. Although the second richest country in the world for long, the Japanese do not build concrete or multi-storied houses. They live mainly in single storied small wooden houses to avoid the after effects of major shakes.
Comparatively Bangladesh is a far less earthquake prone country. If earthquakes were such an awesome always present possibility in the lives of Bangladeshis, then that would have changed their lifestyle also like in Japan. People here would be living in wooden homes and not building high-rises. Government or institutions would be acquiring such behaviourial patterns automatically if the number of earthquakes, the frequency of their occurrence and damages, had been so great.
Most of the time, people in all age groups in Bangladesh take seriously any information that is dished out in the media without filtering them sufficiently for accuracy and reliability. There is no denying that Bangladesh is not the best of places geographically to be considered as very free from the potentials of suffering earthquakes. But the position of Bangladesh is not so hopeless as it is made out to be like some other countries and regions. Besides, the alluvium type of soil of Bangladesh is thought to absorb the shocks of tremor better than the hard and rocky soils at other earthquake prone countries. Thus, even the 5. 0 on the Richter scale category earthquakes in Bangladesh were well tolerated and did not cause any damage to life and property. Elsewhere in the world, such an earthquake could cause considerable damages.
The point is, chances of earthquake are there in Bangladesh like in other countries with potentials for earthquakes. But Bangladesh is blessed relatively for major earthquakes here occurred only at long intervals of many years. And no one can predict exactly the timing of an earthquake. It may happen the next day or a century from now. When this is the current scientific ability to foretell the occurrence of an earthquake, should it not be considered a major irresponsibility to spread news about the immediacy of an earthquake to create panic waves in people’s minds ? Think about the frayed nerves, the effect on heart and hypertension patients, sleeplessness, anxiety and other negative developments from such exaggerated news.
Media here was found telling people last year about a massive flood rolling towards Dhaka. The report also analysed weather patterns to predict the great likelihood of a very devastating countrywide flood in that monsoon season that would dwarf all memories of the worst floods in this country in the present century and the previous one. But more time down the road Bangladeshwas still very largely flood-free and our weather experts hoped conditions to remain the same throughout that wet season.
Foreign sources were saying after the 1988 flood that flood of similar or worse magnitude would be afflicting Bangladesh every year. But for decades after 1988there was noted no major countrywide flood. We had manageable regional floods and experts also point out how flooding is not all negative in the context of Bangladesh. Floods give the soil of this country its richness and safeguards its ecology.
Then, people of this country have been bombarded with very gloomy information from external sources from the eighties that a big party of this country would go under the sea. One source claims that even the whole country will be submerged from the effects of earth warming. But our scientists who studied and worked in world class organisations abroad, have found proofs only to the contrary. A credible Bangladeshi scientific organization disclosed that instead of sinking into the sea, Bangladesh has been growing annually by some 20 square miles from land accretion in its coastal areas. The accreted lands are from the massive silt brought down from the Himalyans by the rivers that crisscross Bangladesh before draining into the sea. Bangladesh may expect to significantly expand in physical size from this process in the present century. No one can predict the level of sea rise to offset the gains from accretion. But the same is not anticipated to be so high as to negate the process of land accretion. At any rate, there has been noted no mentionable sign of a sea level rise in our coastal areas.
What effects do these prophecies of doom about Bangladeshentail ? Mostly, these gloomy forecasts have a way of accelerating the brain drain from this poor country. Some former Bangladeshis to be counted as human resources anywhere in the world migrated to other countries from apprehensions that this country would be gradually becoming unlivable from geographic factors like floods, sea level rise, earthquakes, etc. A large number of people who would rather prefer to stay in this country and give their services to their motherland, were gripped by a sense of premonition about Bangladesh and left for other destinations. The migration of these people only created restlessness among other such people deepening their fears that perhaps their inability to similarly depart from Bangladesh is endangering their future. Fears of this sort are only increasing by the day and dangerously eroding people’s morale and confidence in their own country. There can be no worse disease than this to undermine the best interests of the nation. That is why, it is so very important to join ranks against such misinformation.