Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Flood Situation Worsens - Marooned people cry for drinking water

Flood-affected people of Ranigram in Sirajganj dismantle their homes and move to higher grounds yesterday as the flood situation in the district worsens. PHOTO: Syed Zakir Hossain

Vol. 5 Num 1127
Wed. August 01, 2007

Front Page
Flood Situation WorsensMarooned people cry for drinking water

Star Report

The flood situation continued to deteriorate in most flood-affected districts yesterday while scarcity of drinking water has become a serious problem for the marooned people exposing them to various water-borne diseases.
Five people, including three children, died by drowning in floodwater in Ullapara and Sadar upazila of Sirajganj yesterday while another child died in Gaibandha.
Meanwhile, Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government Fakhruddin Ahmed is to visit the flood-affected areas of Kurigram and Sirajganj today.
He will visit flood-affected areas and distribute relief materials to the destitute people, reports UNB. Fakhruddin, who will be accompanied by Food and Disaster Management Adviser Tapan Chowdhury, will return to Dhaka in the afternoon.
Many, mostly the poor, people who took shelter on higher lands and flood protection embankments, are running short of food and have became helpless due to loss of their livelihoods, reports The Daily Star correspondents Hasibur Rahman Bilu and Golam Mostafa Jibon from Sirajganj.
Women and children are bearing the brunt of this crisis as many mothers cannot breastfeed their children.
Syeda Begum, 20, one of over 12,000 people who took shelter on Ranigram embankment in Sirajganj, said she could not breastfeed her three-month-old boy, as she had nothing to eat for a day.
“We have no food left for tomorrow and we are drinking impure water as all the tube wells went under water," said Josna Begum, 60, of Khokshabari in Sirajganj Sadar upazila.
There are around 2,000 children, along with their mothers, on the Ranigram embankment where there are no toilets. "We are in real trouble here, there is nobody to help us," said Ankhi, 24, mother of a six-year-old.
Carpenter Jahurul Islam, 30 of Khokshabari upazila, said he has been borrowing rice to feed his seven-member family, as he could not find work for the last 12 days. "We require rice worth Tk 66 a day. I do not know how I will repay the debt," he said.
Lakshmi Bewa, 45, of Kawakhola char said the flood washed away her house, furniture and paddy on the field. "We took shelter on the western embankment of Jamuna. We managed to keep our children half-fed but the grownups are passing days without food."
The Sirajganj flood control room said it has asked the Department of Public Health and Engineering to provide water treatment systems in the flood-affected areas. Apart from one such treatment facility belonging to Unicef at Ranigram embankment, no such facilities were found in the district.
Neck-deep floodwater forced almost all shops, kitchen markets, clinics in Sirajganj Sadar to close, leaving the marooned people helpless. "I have never seen such devastating flood. The flood in 1988 was not so devastating," 65-year-old Hazrat Ali told The Daily Star.
Inundated by floodwater, communication between Kazipur and Sirajganj and Sirajganj and Bogra snapped. Power outage has also worsened as several electric poles were uprooted.
According to Water Development Board (WDB), at least four lakh people in nine upazilas of Sirajganj are marooned.
Roads and Highways Department officials said at least 120 roads in the district went under water and most of these were completely or partially damaged. District administration said it set up 200 shelter centres in different places where over 60,000 people are staying.
At least 173 tonnes of rice and Tk 4 lakh in cash have been allocated for relief.
Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) yesterday reported that water level of the Jamuna has started to fall upstream at Noonkhawa and Chilmari points while it continues to rise downstream at Bahadurabad, Sirajganj and Aricha.
The Jamuna was flowing 56cm, 75cm, 88cm, 112cm and 100cm above danger levels at Noonkhawa, Chilmari, Bahadurabad, Sirajganj and Aricha.
The water levels of the Dharla and the Teesta are falling but still flowing over the danger levels at Kurigram.
The flood situations in Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Netrakona, Sunamganj, Sylhet and Bogra are unlikely to aggravate and may even start improving within the next 24 hours. The situations in Jamalpur, Sirajganj, Pabna and Tangail are still deteriorating and expected to start improving within the next two days.
The water level of the Padma continued to rise at all points and was flowing 122cm and 78cm above danger levels at Goalundo and Bhagyakul. The river is likely to swell further in the next 24 hours.
More areas of Manikganj, Munshiganj, Faridpur, Rajbari, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Dohar and Nawabganj upazilas of Dhaka are likely to be inundated soon.
Small rivers surrounding Dhaka and Narayanganj continued to swell and are likely to approach danger levels in the next day or two. The Buriganga was flowing 82cm below danger level yesterday.
The Meghna at Bhairab Bazar continued to swell and was flowing 25cm above danger level yesterday. The Meghna is likely to rise even further inundating more low-lying areas of Narsingdi, Brahmanbaria and Narayanganj.
The flood situation in four upazilas of Gaibandha remained unchanged yesterday, but the Ghagot breached the 500-metre stretch of Gaibandha Town Protection Embankment at Konarpara, our Gaibandha correspondent reports.
A 12-year-old boy Jubayer of Purbopara was washed away by the raging floodwater at Falia.
Acute crisis of drinking water, food and fodder plagues the affected areas. Army personnel from the 17-Artillery Field Regiment are supplying drinking water to flood victims using their own water treatment equipment. Their equipment, however, is not designed to meet such high demand.
Road communication between Gaibandha and Balashighat remained snapped while one kilometre of railway line between Trimohoni and Balashighat went under water suspending rail communication.
At least 159 government primary schools were closed while cropland of 20 villages went under water. Flooding in the district has so far affected over 39,243 families.
Floods have disrupted road communication between Netrakona Sadar and Kalmakanda, Durgapur and Kendua upazilas, our correspondent in Netrakona reports.
Twenty-seven flood shelters were opened in the affected areas. Many of the marooned people who took shelters on higher lands and flood shelters are suffering from food and drinking water shortages.
The Someshwary, Kongsa and Dhanu devoured around 70 more dwellings and are threatening to breach the Dampara Embankment in Purbadhala upazila.
Fish in 10,000 ponds in the district worth around Tk 20 crore were washed away, Netrakona fishery office sources said.
The district administration distributed 18 tonnes of rice and dry food in Durgapur, Kalmakanda and Khaliajuri upazilas, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Netrakona Mizanur Rahman said.
Nagarbari-Paturia ferry service is still out of commission as the Nagarbari ferry terminal went under floodwater several days ago, our correspondent in Manikganj reports.
The diversion road of the previously damaged Dotora Bridge at Ghior went under water yesterday snapping road communications between Manikganj, Dhaka and Ghior, Daulapur upazilas.
According to district Agriculture Extension Department, paddy on 10,7000 hectares and vegetables on 1,600 hectares went under water.
A part of the 200-foot Baruria Bridge on Tangail-Balla Road collapsed due to raging floodwater last evening snapping road link between Tangail and Kalihati, our correspondent in Tangail reports.
At least 10 villages of Tangail Sadar were flooded when a breach developed on a flood control embankment at Bir Nahali. Many new areas went under water when another embankment at Hatia was overpowered by floodwater Monday night.
A total of 61,675 families of Sadar upazila are marooned while crops on 26,591 acres of land were completely damaged, district administration sources said.
Ferry service at Elasin has stopped for the last two days as roads to pontoons went under water. Road communication between Tangail and Nagarpur remains snapped.
Our correspondent in Benapole reports: Floodwater inundated 15 villages, leaving the low-lying areas under two feet of water, as overflowing Damodar river of India flooded Bangladesh territory.
A correspondent from Munshiganj reports Srinagar-Mawa-Bhagyakul flood protection embankment developed a 20-foot breach yesterday inundating more areas. The local administration and the joint forces were working to repair it yesterday.
Flood-affected people of Ranigram in Sirajganj dismantle their homes and move to higher grounds yesterday as the flood situation in the district worsens. PHOTO: Syed Zakir Hossain

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