Depression starts to weaken
Relentless rain and unusually high tidal surge kept on battering people of the coastal areas yesterday and destroyed several thousand homes, damaged crops on half a lakh acres of land, fish enclosures and dams and disrupted communication.
Over 10 lakh people have been rendered homeless in Barisal, Khulna, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar and other districts near the Bay.
The weather situation is likely to improve from this evening as the land depression hovering over West Bengal and south-western parts of Bangladesh will gradually weaken, Met office sources said.
The torrential rain also disrupted city life in Chittagong. Cargo handling at the outer anchorage of the Chittagong Port remained suspended for the second consecutive day due to bad weather.
Waterways and road communication between the capital and the southern districts have been badly affected due to the weather. Communication by air and rail, however, remain almost normal, said officials.
Cyclone Aila victims, who have been staying in makeshift camps on embankments for the last two years, were exposed to the inclement weather and are one of the worst affected.
The depression triggered strong wind which drove 2-4 feet high tidal surges in the coasts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Feni, Laxmipur, Bhola, Barisal, Patuakhali, Barguna, Chandpur, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira. The surges inundated low-lying areas and marooned thousands.
Over 50 chars in Patuakhali went under 4-5 feet deep water making around 20,000 people homeless.
Mahfuzur Rahman, executive engineer of Water Development Board of Bhola, said around 40km of flood-control dams at different places in the district were damaged.
Barisal port authorities closed 29 routes for motorised water vessels until further notice.
Meanwhile, over 50,000 people and 1,300 vehicles, 600 of them buses, have been stranded on both sides of the Padma at Paturia and Daulatdia ferry terminals as of 7:30pm yesterday evening. Bad weather and strong currents led to a 43-hour suspension of ferry services.
Amid passenger agitation and sufferings, a handful of ferries resumed operations around 8:00am yesterday.
One passenger got trampled and died while disembarking a ferry yesterday. Details of deceased Sultan could not be known.
Deputy Managing Director of BIWTC, Mawa Ferry Terminal, Md Ashiquzzaman said ferries move slowly in strong currents which create long queues of vehicles.
He said the Daulatdia ferry terminal was damaged due to strong current.
[Our Khulna, Chittagong, Barisal, Patuakhali, Munshiganj and Madaripur correspondents contributed to the report.]
Courtesy of The Daily Star