Flood in Bangladesh 2017: Immense sufferings, scanty response
12:00 AM, August 18, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:37 AM, August 18, 2017

Immense sufferings, scanty response

Shortage of food, drinking water piles misery on flood victims; situation unchanged in some dists, worsening in other areas

With water level in all major rivers falling below the danger mark upstream, flood situation in northern districts shows signs of improvement.

But the miseries of tens of thousands of people in the flood-hit areas are far from over.

Inadequate government relief and crises of food and drinking water have compounded their woes. Prices of rice, lentil and vegetable have gone up in the affected areas as crops on vast swathes of land got damaged.

A number of flood victims complained that relief provided by the authorities was insufficient to meet their daily needs.

Abdul Latif, a flood victim in Rehai Gabsara village in Tangail's Bhuapur, said they are facing a shortage of drinking water as most of the tube-wells in the area have gone under water.

Though floods hit the district three days ago, relief distribution was yet to start there.

However, Mohammad Ashraf Hossain, upazila nirbahi officer of Bhuapur, said relief programme would begin today and would continue.

Flood situation remains unchanged in Jamalpur and Sirajganj while it has worsened in Manikganj, Munshiganj and Shariatpur.

Talking to The Daily Star, Sazzad Hossain, executive engineer of Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, said, “The water level in the major rivers has already dropped below the danger mark upstream. The flood situation will improve if it doesn't rain upstream."

In Dhaka, five rivers around the capital are now flowing below the danger level, he added.

Sayed Hasan Imam, executive engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) in Sirajganj, said all embankments in the district still face threat of erosion.

Contacted, Abdur Rahim, district relief and rehabilitation officer, said a total of 491 villages were flooded in the district over the last five days and more than three lakh people remain marooned.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit the flood-affected areas in Dinajpur and Kurigram on Sunday.


Many of the flood-hit people are unable to return home from temporary shelters as their houses were badly damaged.

In Lalmonirhat, 68-year-old Madina Bewa of Shiberkuti village cannot return home though floodwater receded from her house.

“A large portion of my house got badly damaged in the flood. I don't have the money to repair it,” said Madina, who has taken shelter near the main road in Mughalhaat area, around one kilometre from her home.

Like her, 48-year-old Abbas Mia has no option but to stay at a temporary shelter.

“I'll have to arrange money to rebuild my house that got destroyed in flood… I along with my four family members must stay on the BWDB dam till then,” said Abbas of Char Kulaghat village in the district.

Many others face similar crisis in Kurigram, Thakurgaon, Gaibandha, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Bogra, Jamalpur and Naogaon.

Flood is also taking a heavy toll on cattle farmers in eight districts -- Sirajganj, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Tangail, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Jamalpur.

They are struggling to find a safe place for their domestic animals. Most of them brought those to higher places near the main roads to save those from floodwater.

“I have three cows. My home got submerged a couple of days ago. I had to take the animals to a place near Belkuchi-Enayetpur road on Tuesday,” said Fazlur Rahman of Ambaria village in Sirajganj.

Not only Fazlur, hundreds of cattle farmers in the district had to bring their animals to higher places near the main roads. They are also facing a shortage of fodder for the animals.

“The grasslands in my village are flooded. Now I have no choice but to buy fodder for my cattle,” said Akbar Hossain, a cattle farmer from Shahzadpur upazila.

In Jamalpur, the bodies of two missing persons, including a student, were found floating in a waterbody at Bhaluka village yesterday morning.

The two were washed away by strong current on Wednesday, said Mazharul Karim, officer-in-charge of Melandah Police Station.

In Rajshahi, a woman has been missing since 1:00pm yesterday as she fell in a beel (a waterbody) in Govindapara Union of Bagmara Upazila.

Govindapara Union Council Chairman Bijon Sarker said divers of the fire service launched a search for Jaynur Bibi, 45, wife of Abu Sayeed.


At least six lakh children have already been affected by floods, according to an estimate of Save the Children in Bangladesh.

Hundreds of schools remain closed, disrupting studies of thousands of children in 20 districts, reports UNB citing a press release of Save the Children.

It also mentioned that floods have affected half a million families.

According to the disaster management and relief ministry, 2.2 million people have become homeless due to flood in the country's northern region.

[Our correspondents from Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Rajshahi, Manikganj, Pabna, Tangail, Jamalpur, Gaibandha and Nilphamari contributed to this report]

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