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Getting through the winter chill

  • Published at 12:07 am December 27th, 2019
Winter fire cold wood burn
File Photo: People warm themselves around a fire in cold winter Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The winter season also tends to see a rise in pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory diseases

Bangladesh, for most of the year, is not a particularly cold-prone nation. This is why, when the mercury does take a dip around December, people are caught off-guard.

We are currently experiencing a cold wave, and as always, the poor are suffering the most, with inadequate shelter or warm clothing in their possession.

Hospitals across the capital have reported an influx of patients from cold-related illnesses and other winter illnesses that continue to take a toll on public life -- nearly 6,000 people were hospitalized within a period of 24 hours, and the last one and half months witness at least 49 deaths.

The government needs to take this seriously. The task is two-fold: Two keep people warm, and to provide adequate care to prevent and treat cold-related ailments.

Blanket distribution drives are certainly laudable initiatives, but it is imperative to ensure than those blankets are indeed reaching the most remote and poverty-stricken areas of the country. Too often we see resources pocketed by unscrupulous middle-men, and we must make sure this does not take place with drives to distribute blankets or warm clothes.

The winter season also tends to see a rise in pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory diseases due to the general dryness of the air as well the fact that many resort to burning leaves and branches to stay warm, thus polluting the air.

While poor people can be hardly faulted for doing what they can to stay warm, it is incumbent on the authorities to make sure no one needs to resort to such environmentally detrimental activities in the cold season.