No relief for flood-hit urban poor in Dhaka

Barishal witnesses flash flood

Emran Hossain | Published: 00:37, Aug 06,2020


A family stays marooned at home at Nasirabad of Khilgaon in Dhaka city on Wednesday as floodwater is yet to recede from the low-lying areas. — Sony Ramany

Hundreds of inhabitants in Dhaka City Corporations’ flooded neighbourhoods have not received a grain from the authorities despite remaining stranded for about two weeks as rivers around Dhaka kept swelling.

Although almost all the rivers that had spilled their banks across Bangladesh finally receded in the last 24 hours until 9:00am on Wednesday, the Balu, Shitalakkhya, Turag and Tongi Khal swelled by up to 6cm during the same time.

The latest disaster report showed that rivers  overflowed their banks in two dozen places in 16 of the 33 flood-affected districts with about 5.5 million flood victims.

‘Just like elsewhere the poorest are the first to fall victims of flood for they live in low-lying places,’ said Mohammad Atikur Rahman, councillor, ward No 70, Dhaka South City Corporation.

‘But unfortunately they received no help from the city corporation so far,’ he said.

About three-fourths of 45,000 inhabitants in the ward under Demra are affected by flooding caused by the River Balu, while over 10,000 of them are stranded in their flooded homes.

With almost all roads under water, the flooding worsened so severely in some places that several hundred families might need to leave home if the River Balu swelled for another day or two, said the councillor.

Most of the flood victims are wage earners or small businessmen whose lives depend on their daily income, he said.

‘But there was no help for them from the authorities,’ said Atik.

New Age talked to the councillors in flood-affected areas such as Khilgaon, Shabujbagh and Mugda, who said that they arranged for relief for flood victims on their own and received nothing from Dhaka South City Corporation.

The number of flood victims in Dhaka North City Corporation is limited to a small area in Mirpur and the victims here also did not receive any help from the authorities.

A Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre bulletin said on Wednesday that the rivers around Dhaka may become stable by Thursday.

Flooding in all five upazilas of Dhaka district remained unchanged with nearly a quarter million people affected.

Nawabganj upazila nirbahi officer HM Salauddin Monzu said that over 1500 families were stranded in floodwaters in all 14 unions in the upazila.

‘It would take a while for the situation to significantly improve for vast areas are still under water,’ said Monzu.

Over 100 families became homeless in Dhaka after losing their houses to erosion that claimed thousands of homes so far across the flood-affected districts.

New Age correspondent in Shariatpur reported that the Padma continued wreaking havoc in the district causing 60-metre-long erosion along its bank at Sureshwar.

‘Erosion threatens to evict me from my home once again,’ said Yasin Ali, a resident of Sureshwar, who shifted home five times earlier because of erosion.

New Age correspondent in Lalmonirhat reported that the River Jamuneshwari fell below the danger level on Wednesday after the India closed all gates at Deonai barrage in Uttar Dinajpur around 6:00am.

The Karatoa, however, continued to flow 4cm above its danger mark at Chak Rahimpur.

The overall flood situation in the north remained unchanged as the Brahmaputra and the Jamuna continued to flow above their danger marks.

Relief crisis persisted across the country with the supply falling far below the demand.

Lack of drinking water and sanitation pose risks of spread of disease among the victims in the flood-affected areas, especially in flood shelters.

The FFWC predicted that the Brahmaputra might continue receding until Saturday and the Padma until Thursday.

New Age correspondent in Barishal reported that different areas of the Barishal city and the district were flooded following a sudden rise of river water level from 4:00pm Wednesday afternoon.

Rise of water level of different canals and ponds was caused by water pressure from upstream, gravitational pull of the full moon and the eastern wind and the flooding engulfed different areas of the city and the district, said Harun-Or-Rashid, chief engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board (southern zone).

Huge number of residents of the flooded areas took shelter on highlands after being marooned by sudden flash floods without receiving any time to remove their usable and valuable items. 

Local office of water development boards informed that Kirtankhola, Meghna rivers were flowing 3-4 feet above the danger level at Barishal port and at different upazila points.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department said that most places in Dhaka, Barishal, Khulna, Chattogram and Rajshahi might witness light to moderate rainfall until Thursday as monsoon was active over the country.

The mild heat wave that baked the country over the last several days got confined to Rangpur division as temperature dropped following two days of rains elsewhere in the country.

The BMD predicted that the heat wave might gradually wane.

The BMD also urged fishing trawlers and boats to remain close to the shore as the sea remained rough under the influence of a low.

The BMD asked all four maritime ports to keep hoisting the local cautionary signal number three.

India Meteorological Department predicted fairly widespread to widespread rains in upstream such as Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya and Bihar until Sunday.

The FFWC said that the flood might linger until the 2nd week of the month.

The health emergency control room said 145 people were killed by flood related causes between June 30 and August 4.

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