The situation has become dire for many of the 12 million residents in the capital city Dhaka who are facing their third week of severe power shortages. Accompanied by ongoing lack of rain, the diminished electricity has also affected water supplies due to a dependency on mechanical pumps that remove water from the soil.
Thus, city officials estimate a yield of 1.9 billion liters of water daily despite the need for at least 2.2 billion liters. In desperation, many people have turned to drinking surface water, whose foul smell and frequent contamination cannot be remedied by boiling because of the power shortages.
This has led to a surge in water-borne diseases, with hospitals now filled beyond capacity.
In response to the crisis, the government has brought in troops to coordinate distribution of water and has arranged with companies such as US-based General Electric and Scotland’s Aggreko to quickly set up a group of power plants by August.
However, with groundwater levels already declining by about 3 meters per year due to global warming-related drought, the United Nations warns that without mitigation, water shortages are expected to worsen.
We join in sadness for the plight of the Bangladeshi people as we send our appreciation to the Bangladeshi government for its efforts to ease this difficult situation.
Let us join in caring more diligently for our precious resources so that all may live in safety and well-being. During a September 2009 videoconference in Peru, Supreme Master Ching Hai conveyed her concern as she has on previous occasions for the human impacts of global warming, while suggesting meaningful actions that would ease conditions for both people and the planet.