“Forget Eid, never in our life have we thought that we would have to spend our Eid day living on a road,” said a grieving Fatema Begum (55) of Choromadhoborom village of Kurigram Sadar upazila on Saturday
The Eid-ul-Adha has brought no joy to thousands of people in flood-hit Kurigram. Tangail, and Sunamganj districts.
Already suffered a crushing blow to their livelihoods because of the Covid-19 pandemic, these people have been left marooned by the ongoing flooding and many of them have been forced to take shelter on highlands such as roads, rail lines, shelter centres and river protection embankments.
"Forget Eid, never in our life have we thought that we would have to spend our Eid day living on a road," said a grieving Fatema Begum (55) of Choromadhoborom village of Kurigram Sadar upazila on Saturday.
"We have been living on the road (Kurigram – Vurungamari highway) under polythene-wrapped huts for around one month now after flood-water from Dharla entered our homes. Water is still flowing above waist height there."
"If there is food on our plates now there is no guarantee that we will have food in the time of the next meal," added Fatema.
According to our Kurigram Correspondent, like Fatema and her family members, many families in the district have taken shelter on the Kurigram-Vurungamari highway and are facing the same distresses day after day. None of them had the capability to take part in sacrificial activities imbued in the spirit of Eid-ul-Adha this year.
More than 300 people of around 400 odd chars and low-lying areas of the district have been living in similar misery due to the disastrous flood.
According to information provided by the Kurigram district administration, around 2,52,520 people have fallen victim to river erosion and marooning due to floods. Around 1,160 families have taken refuge in the district's 64 flood shelters and on embankments.
Another distressed Hainul Islam (35) said, "I am a hawker who sells cosmetics. I sell these beauty products roaming around villages and earn a living for my family."
"On one hand there are the fears on coronavirus and on the other hand there is my distressed flood hit family. No house owner lets me sit near their house, let alone sell products to them."
"This year there is no such thing called Eid for my family. Forget meat, we cannot even have decent meals now a days," added Hainul.
The flood waters in Kurigram had started to recede a bit but heavy rains and onrush of water from upstream India have caused water levels at all the rivers in the district to rise again.
The waters of Dharla, Dudhkumar and Brahmaputra are flowing above the danger line while waters of the Teesta river is flowing below the danger line.
According to information provided by the Water Development Board's Kurigram flood control cell on Saturday at around 12 pm, the water level at the Darla bridge point rose 10 centimeters (cms) and was currently flowing 46 cms above the danger level. Water levels on the Dudhkumar river at the Sadarupazila's Nunkhaoa point rose 17 cms and was flowing 3 cms above the danger level.
Lastly, water level on the Brahmaputra river at Chilmari Ghat point at Chilmari upazila of the district rose 12 cms and was flowing 27 cms above the danger levels.
Besides Kurigram, water levels on the Teesta river at Kawnia Ghat point in Rangpur rose 1 cm and was flowing 22 cms below danger level.
In Sunamganj, back to back three spats of flooding have destroyed people's houses.
Distressed people of Babupur village in Dharmapasha upazila of the district have spent a joyless Eid this year. Losing their income to the coronavirus and their homes to floods, they have been left in shambles.
One such distressed resident of the Babupur is Abdur Rob. After losing his job in Dhaka due to coronavirus shutdown, he went home and during the harvesting season in last Baishakh, he secured some rice for his family to eat.
Though he could somewhat ensure the food security for his family, he is unable to make ends meet in these circumstances. His family has celebrated a joyless Eid this year as tough times for some has become tougher for them.
This is the Eid story of not just Abdur Rob but of many others like him in the district.
Chairman of North Shukhair Rajapur union of Dharmapasha upazila, Farhad Ahmed said, "The relief goods that I have received from the government have been distributed among the distressed people. As the number of affected people is still more than the amount of relief received, it was not possible to provide everyone with the relief materials."
"I have sent a list to the government to get more relief for my people," added Farhad
Mohammad Abdul Ahad, deputy commissioner of Sunamganj, said, "The government is distributing separate relief materials to support different classes of people affected by flood and the coronavirus. However, we are often getting complaints about our prepared lists."
"If the chairman and members can go beyond their nepotism and work accordingly, then the people who really need help will not be deprived. We have prepared the list three times and sent it to the ministry for approval," he added.
In Tangail, several hundred flood-hit families in different upazilas have taken shelter on river protection embankments.
Although some of these families received food from their relatives on the Eid day, most others could not avail any special food on the day.
The flood-affected people complained that they did not get any relief from the government as yet.
In Pabna, the low-lying areas have been inundated due to the rising of waters in various rivers including Padma-Jamuna.
More than one lakh people in different areas of the district, including Bera, Sujanagar, Chatmohar and Bhangura upazilas, are trapped by the flood water.
Roads, educational institutions and crop lands have been flooded. The pond and fish enclosures have been washed away by the flood water as well. Stern crisis of pure water has been seen in these areas.
People have taken shelter on highways and embankments to save themselves and their families. Eid celebrations have become a far-fetched thought for them as surviving the flood has become the main goal of their existence at this moment.
The roads in Bhangura, Ashtamanisha, Khanmarich and Dilpasha unions of Bhangura upazila have submerged under flood water along with about 450 hectares of crops land.
According to the data provided by the water development board, the water of Jamuna river flowed 4 cm above the danger level at Nagarbari Point last Wednesday.
Mofazzal Hossain, deputy assistant engineer of the Pabna Water Development Board, said, "Several villages had been affected by the rising water. River erosion has occurred in some areas of the district. Geo bags are being dumped on the river banks to prevent erosion."
Assuring all possible co-operation to the flood-affected people in the time of this crisis, Pabna Deputy Commissioner Kabir Mahmud said, "All kinds of preparations have been taken by the administration to deal with the floods. A list of flood-hit victims has already been compiled."