Hundreds lose all in one week, thousand others await same fate | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 25, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:57 PM, September 25, 2020

Teesta Erosion in Gangachara Upazila

Hundreds lose all in one week, thousand others await same fate

Hundreds became homeless in the last seven days as houses belonging to at least 200 families were lost to the Teesta river in Rangpur's Gangachara upazila -- an area prone to the river's erosion.

Near about 17 thousand inhabitants of three villages -- Purbo, Pashchim and Madhya Ichli in Lakkhitari union of the upazila -- might lose all their property to the erosion, said locals.

An educational institution, an Eidgah ground and a temple have already gone into the river during this week in Purbo Ichli village where a madrasa is also on the verge of collapse into the river.

The banks of the Teesta started eroding in early August, but the extent of the erosion intensified since September 12, following massive rainfall in the region.

Due to a couple of back-to-back floods since July, the inhabitants of the area already suffered great losses. And now the erosion is eventually going to turn them penniless by taking away their homes and agricultural land, they also said. 

"How will the people bear such loss -- losing their homes that they built with their lifesavings?" asked Rozina Begum, a resident of Ichli village. 

Another villager, Rafiqul Islam, said although there is an embankment along the river, built for their protection against flooding or erosion, the villagers become homeless every year.

Many of the villagers this correspondent spoke with said that the number of erosion victims, who are taking shelter on higher ground, is getting higher this year as the river is apparently changing its course towards its old path.  

Due to the reason, the road to the Sheikh Hasina Bridge in the upazila is also under erosion threat, they also said. 

Aside from houses and other structures, the river has devoured a large amount of agricultural land as well as several hundred fishing ponds, said Abdul Kader Mollah from Ichli village. "The Ichli Eidgah ground is nowhere to be found -- it has also disappeared into the river."

Primal Roy, from the same village, said the village temple has also gone into the river.

Lakkhitari Union Parishad Chairman Abdullah Al Hadi said a seven-kilometre-long embankment along the river can save Purbo, Pashchim and Madhya Ichli villages. "Otherwise, hundreds will be displaced as the villages that they call home will no longer exist."

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