Safe water crisis grips flood-hit areas

14 Jul 2017, 23:24

Online Desk

Dhaka: Thousands of flood-affected people have been left without pure drinking water, food, shelter and sanitation in Jamalpur, Faridpur, Sirajganj, Kurigram and Bogra as water continued to rise in the five districts on Friday.

The flood situation has, meanwhile, improved significantly in Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts.

According to reports reaching the news agency UNB news desk, most of the low-lying areas of Sadar and Rajbari upazilas of Faridpur were submerged by the gushing water as the Padma River was flowing 4 cm above the danger level on Friday, said sources at the local Water Development Board office.

Chairman of North Channel Union Parishad in Sadar upazila Mostakur Rahman said many people living in the shoal areas could not move to safe places as the water was rising rapidly.

WDB Deputy Assistant Engineer Jahirul Islam said the floodwater is entering the country's midland after flooding the northern region. "As a result, many rivers of the Faridpur region were flowing above their danger levels."

Several unions were inundated in Sadar, Charbhadrasan, Sadarpur and Alfadanga upazilas, he added.

In Jamalpur, all the seven upazilas were affected by the flood following a rise in the water revels of all the rivers in the district, rendering over 2 lakh people in 50 unions marooned.

The Jamuna River was flowing 87 cm above the red mark at Bahadurabad pontoon point in the morning.

Although some 3,780 people in Islampur, Dewanganj and Melandah upazilas took shelter in eight shelter centres, the flood victims were undergoing immense sufferings for lack of adequate food, safe drinking water and sanitation.

Besides, a total of 230 primary schools remained closed in the seven upazilas of the district due to the flood, accordingly to the District Primary Education office.

In Kurigram, the flood-affected people have been living an inhuman life for the last nine days for lack of relief materials.

Many did not get the government relief materials as those are inadequate while no NGO stood by the victims.

A large number of day-labourers in 550 villages of Chilmari along with their family members have no food to eat as the relief materials were yet to reach them.

Sources at the local WDB said the Brahamaputra River was flowing 35 cm above the danger mark at Chilmari point while the Dharala and Dudhkumar above 1 cm.

In Sirajganj, fresh areas went under water as the Jamuna River continued to swell. It was flowing 79 cm above red line in the afternoon, halting all kinds of road communication.

People are using makeshift boats to communicate from one place to another, while over 200 educational institutions and business establishments along with houses remained under floodwater, said local WDB Engineer Syed Hasan Imam.

On Thursday night, a 40-metre portion of the under-construction embankment along the Jamuna River in Bahuka Choudhuripara area broke down, flooding 10 villages and vast paddy fields, he said.

However, the WDB and 11 River Engineer Battalion of Army repaired the dam on Friday.

In Bogra, the Jamuna River was flowing 58 cm above the danger level at Sariakandi point.

Deputy Commissioner Nur-e-Alam Siddique said a total of 17,040 families of 93 villages in 14 unions were affected by the flood while 71 primary schools, eight high schools, a college and two madrassah remained closed due to the disaster.

Besides, some 5,085 hectares of paddy field and 60 km roads were damaged as they went under floodwater, he said.

Locals alleged that they were not getting relief materials due to corruption by the local administration.

Meanwhile, mentioning that the relief activities will continue in the flood-affected areas until the floodwater recedes, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya on Friday warned that no irregularity will be tolerated in the distribution of relief materials.

"No one will be spared if there's any irregularity in the relief distribution. Stern action will be taken against them," he said while addressing a special meeting of Jamalpur Disaster Management Committee at the Deputy Commissioner's office.

The minister also asked the officials concerned to work for rehabilitating the victims after the flood. "As per the Prime Minister's directives, you'll have to work to ensure so that no one suffers and starves to death due to the flood. You'll have to do the rehabilitation work properly so that the flood victims can stand on their feet again," he said.

Besides, the minister is scheduled to visit the flood-affected areas of Sirajganj and Bogra on Saturday.