Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday assured the flood-hit people of the country for providing food assistance to them for three months until harvesting of the next crops and said that all the affected people would get relief goods.
‘Food assistance to the flood-affected people will continue for three months until the harvesting of next crops ... we’re making arrangements so that everybody affected by the flood gets food and we would continue to do it inshallah,’ she said while distributing relief goods among the flood affected people in the morning.
Mentioning that the government has been providing rice at Tk 10 per Kg among 50 lakh families of the country, the premier categorically said that relief materials will reach all of the flood-affected people. ‘Please have faith in us in this regard,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina arrived in the morning to visit areas of the district affected by a severe flood caused by heavy rains and onrush of water from upstream.
By an air force helicopter, the prime minister landed at Dinajpur Goar-e-Shaheed Boro Maidan at 10:30am.
The prime minister later distributed relief goods among the flood-stricken people now taking shelter at Dinajpur Zila School shelter centre in Dinajpur Sadar and Teghara High School shelter centre at Farkkabad union of Birol upazila.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has started
importing food from abroad and there is an adequate stock of food in Bangladesh.
Agriculture minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, primary and mass education minister Mostafizur Rahman, Awami League joint secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak, whip Iqbalur Rahim, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, MP, spoke on the occasion, among others.
Water resources minister Anisul Islam Mahmood, relief and disaster management minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and food minister Qamrul Islam were present on the occasion, among others.
The prime minister said the government would make arrangements for food and healthcare for the flood-hit people. ‘We would do whatever is necessary for the flood-hit people and we’re remain with you and would stay with you ... hope that you have such a faith in us,’ she said.
‘As long as I remain alive, I’m dedicated to the people. My father sacrificed his life for the welfare of the countrymen and if needed, I would sacrifice my life for changing the lot of the people and bringing smiles on their faces,’ she added.
Sheikh Hasina said the government is constructing houses for the homeless people. ‘There wouldn’t be a single person to remain homeless and we would build houses for those who have no houses and those who have been affected by the river erosion ... if needed will construct their houses by purchasing land,’ she said.
The prime minister said she is pursuing politics for the poor and distressed people. ‘I’ve nothing to lose as I lost everything including my parents ... I’m doing politics for you, I want the people of the country to stay well and they lead a better life,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said it’s the responsibility of the government to stay beside the people during any natural disasters like flood, cyclone or drought. ‘We perform our responsibility when we remain in government, like that we also discharge our duty when we stay in opposition,’ she said.
The prime minister said the personnel of army, police, Ansar, VDP have been deployed to assist the flood-hit people. ‘Besides, the Awami League leaders are visiting the flood-affected people to help the people,’ she said.
Urging the well-off people to stand by the flood-affected people, Sheikh Hasina said that it’s natural that natural calamities will come. ‘But it’s our responsibility to protect the life and property from the disasters ... we are adopting all kinds of work plans keeping this in mind,’ she said.
The prime minister directed the non-government organisations engaged in providing microcredit not to make any harassment on the people in the name of realising loans from them.
The prime minister asked the authorities concerned to take steps for checking breakout of diseases after receding of floodwater.
She said she had already directed the authorities concerned to drain out water from the crop lands submerged by floods.
Sheikh Hasina said roads and rail tracks were severely damaged in different districts for the flood. In this connection, she mentioned that the ministries concerned were now ready to start repairing of the roads and rail lines.
The premier said crops were damaged due to the ongoing flood and the government would provide all-out assistance, including agri-inputs, for farmers so that they could start cultivation again.
The prime minister said Bangabangdhu liberated the country and when he was taking the country to the economic emancipation, he was brutally assassinated in 1975 to stop the country’s advancement.
Sheikh Hasina said 18 members of her family, including parents and brothers, were killed on August 15, 1975. But she and her younger sister escaped the brutality as they were abroad at that time.
The prime minister said she and her sister were not allowed to return home for six years as General Zia barred them from entering the country.
After returning home in 1981 she dedicated herself to the wellbeing of the people of the country, she said.
Referring to the Yasmeen murder in Dinajpur during the BNP tenure, she said the BNP government didn’t stay beside the people of Dinajpur.
‘I had come here and stood beside the people at that time,’ she said.
The prime minister said the North Bengal always witnessed monga (seasonal famine) in the past.
‘But after coming to power in 1996 after 21 years, the Awami League eliminated monga by ensuring foods and employment for the people of the region,’ she said.
She said the country’s northern region again experienced monga when the BNP-Jamaat government assumed office in 2001.
‘But there was no monga for the last eight years in the North Bengal since the AL government remains in power,’ she said.
Later, the prime minister held a meeting with officials of the different departments at local circuit house where she gave various directives to them.
At the meeting, Sheikh Hasina asked the officials to take necessary measures for removing silts from the char areas.
She also directed the officials to rebuild the houses damaged by the flood and take steps so that the people who have taken shelter in different schools could return home quickly.
The prime minister asked the public health department officials to check outbreak of diseases after recession of the floodwater and directed the officials of education department to distribute textbooks again among the students whose books were damaged by water.
The officials at the meeting apprised the premier of their activities which they took to tackle the flood situation.
They said Dinajpur flood protection embankment was saved from the damage due to quick response of the BGB.
PM’s security adviser Major General (retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddiq and principal secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury were present at the meeting.
In the afternoon, Sheikh Hasina visited flood-affected Kurugram.
The helicopter carrying the prime minister landed on the playground adjacent to Chinai union land office.
Sheikh Hasina distributed relief materials among flood victims at Panga High School ground before returning to Dhaka.
As many as 1,038 unions of 154 upazilas in 27 districts were affected by the flood making 57.18 lakh people of some 13.22 lakh families homeless.
About 2.97 lakh people have taken shelter in 941 shelter centres and the government as so far distributed 20,470 tonnes of GR rice, 37,000 packets of dry food and Tk 6.56 crore cash among the affected people.
Around 40, 167 houses were completely damaged while 4.91 lakh houses partially damaged by floodwater.
Apart from this, crops on 4.68 lakh hectors of land were damaged by floodwater.
The flood has claimed lives of about 100 people. A total of 31 kilometres road were fully damaged and 2,789 km road were partially damaged.
The number of affected education institution is around 2,556.
The government has deputed 1,627 medical teams in 27 districts to provide emergency medical services to the people.
Moreover, a control room has also been set up in the relief and disaster management ministry and respective district and upazila to monitor the flood situation and relief management.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country