The houses in the vast area of the coastal Koyra upazila in Khulna have been washed away after being inundated in tidal water. Moreover, new villages are getting flooded every day due to the depression in the Bay of Bengal and the continuous rain and the new moon.
Last Saturday, due to high tide, the ring embankment in Koyra Sadar union, which was damaged by Cyclone Amphan, broke, and several areas including Koyra, Gobra Ghatakhali and Koyra Sadar were submerged, causing immense sufferings to the people of Koyra upazila, adjacent to the Sundarbans.
Suchitra Sarkar, 45, wife of Manoranjan Sarkar, who lives in a hut on the Hatkhola embankment of Hajatkhali-Kashi in North Bedkashi union, said in a tone of despair, "There are no houses to live in. I built a hut on Wapda with great difficulty. I can't manage two meals a day. Water enters the hut and it is very difficult to cook."
"Those who are not in need are getting relief. Local government representatives do not bother about us at all," she added.
Suchitra's family has not been able to return home even though three months have passed since super cyclone Amphan. Like them, 160 more families are living in inhuman conditions by building huts on the embankment. More new people are being added there almost every day. These poor people who are living an uncertain life do not know when they will be able to return to their homes.
A visit to Hajatkhali village in North Bedkashi union revealed that the houses were submerged in saltwater. Majid Mollah of the village is living with his family on a bedstead on the floor of the house submerged in the water. With a broken house, no income, and no road to travel, it is very difficult for him to run a family.
The victims are not asking for relief from the government. They only want a strong and sustainable embankment for their protection and survival.
They said when the catastrophic cyclone Amphan hit on May 20, the embankments of four unions of Koyra upazila broke and saltwater entered the locality. Despite the efforts of the people's representatives and the voluntary aspirations of the locals, it was possible to prevent the erosion of the embankment of the three unions with a ring embankment, but it was not possible to prevent the erosion of the Hajatkhali embankment of Uttar Bedkashi union of the upazila.
On August 20, due to hostile weather and strong pressure of water of the Kopotakkho river, the ring embankment of Koyra, Harinkhola and Ghatakhali in Koyra Sadar union broke and the local area was submerged in saltwater. Locals fear that if the ring embankment is not completed soon, the entire Koyra upazila could be submerged in saltwater.
At present, at least 21 km of embankments in two polders of the Water Development Board in six unions of Koyra upazila are at risk, locals said. Among them, Loka of Maharajpur union, Purba Mathbari, Dashalia, Gobra of Koyra Sadar union, Guriabari Sluice Gate area, Madinabad Launch Ghat, Baniakhali of Maheshwaripur union, Hadda Kheyaghat, South Tetultalar Char Trawler Ghat area, Gatirgheri, Kashirhat, Gabunia areas of North Bedkashi union are most at risk.
GM Shamsur Rahman, chairman of Dakshin Bedkashi union, said that due to rising tidal water in the river at the moment, some places in Dakshin Bedkashi union are about to be flooded.
Maharajpur union chairman Abdullah Al Mamun Lavlu said the people of the area have been waterlogged for a long time after the embankment was breached. There is doubt if the water can be blocked by the ring embankment. Besides, a massive landslide has occurred in the dam on the north side of Pabna Closer in East Mathbari area.
Bangladesh Water Development Board deputy assistant engineer Md Mashiul Abedin said earthwork has been done to repair a few kilometres of embankments in two polders of Koyra upazila in the current financial year. Due to the increase in water in the river, new landslides have taken place in many places. Urgent repairs have been undertaken on the 21 km embankment which has been identified as being at risk.
Koyra upazila nirbahi officer Animesh Biswas said the biggest problem for the people of Koyra upazila is the risky embankment. There is an urgent need to build sustainable embankments. And, only a sustainable embankment can save people and houses of this area from floods and crops lands from saltwater.