A large dam on the Bogura River broke on Thursday after repeated attempts of locals to strengthen it failed, flooding hundreds of fish grounds and houses in Rampal upazila of Bagherhat.
Officials and residents of Hurka village in Rampal said the dam first broke on Monday, but they kept it from completely collapsing by piling on soil and bamboo.
"We repaired it by piling on soil and bamboo with the help of the district administration and the local chairman," said Subash Chandra Dhali, from Hurka village.
As reports of cyclone Yaas spread, locals further strengthened the dam with soil. But just before Thursday noon it broke again, flooding the village of Hurka on the banks of the Bogura river.
"At least 200 of our fish grounds flooded and went under. Hundreds of houses have been flooded. I tried so hard but I wasn't able to keep the dam from collapsing," Dhali said.
Residents of Hurka village and local officials have been demanding a sustainable protective river embankment for a long time now.
"Most people in Rampal upazila depend on fish farming for their livelihood. They suffer damages in every disaster. Sustainable embankments are needed here to protect the ghers or fish grounds," said Bagerhat District Fisheries Officer, ASM Russell, visiting the flooded areas.
Hurka Union Parishad chairman Tapan Goldar said, "A sustainable embankment or a guide wall on the river can protect the villagers from the water."