Saturday, June 22, 2024

Thousands in flood-hit Satkhira flock to roads for refuge

The queues of makeshift shelters on roadsides and high grounds in the severely flood-hit areas of Satkhira district are getting longer every day with fresh flocks of homeless people joining in, finding no refuge in already overcrowded shelter homes set up in schools, colleges, and other establishments.
As they reach the roads in relentless rain people do get out of the reach of the hungry floodwater but face new difficulties, starting with an acute lack of materials to make shelters with, especially polythene sheets and fencing goods.
According to Satkhira district relief office, 8,26,124 people of 1,95,562 families have been affected by the flooding in 66 unions and two municipalities under six upazilas of the district. Of them, 27,816 severely-affected families have taken refuge in 288 shelter homes.
The number of shelter homes in the district was 243 on August 18 but it increased to 280 on August 21 and then reached 288 on August 27.
As more houses continue to collapse every day, the number of people flocking to the roads and other high grounds also continues to increase, said relief office sources.
Besides, a number of people who took refuge in the shelter homes are also leaving them, unable to stand the over-crowding and the over-powering stench of human excrements coming from the adjacent areas. The inadequate toilet facilities in the shelter homes force the refugees to use the surrounding places to answer to the call of nature, said relief office sources as well as the flood-affected people.
The administration has distributed only 78 pieces of tarpaulin, 250 plastic sheets, and 250 blue sheets against a huge demand of thousands of families for polythene sheets, tarpaulin, plastic sheets, and blue sheets to prepare some sort of roofs as a protection against the rain and, when it stops, the sun, they said.
They, however, said some non-governmental organisations also had distributed polythene sheets among the people squatting at the roadsides but they were yet to get the details about that.
Parts of Keshobpur and Monirampur of Jessore and Paikgachha of Khulna have also been affected by the flood, according to the administration of the districts.
‘I came to this lone high road in my village three days ago but am still getting drenched with the rainwater falling through the roof,’ Gazi Mohiuddin of Kanaidia village under Tala upazila in Satkhira told New Age, sitting in a shelter made of walls of torn cloths and a roof of nut leaves.
‘I am getting wet in the rain and drying in the sun under the open sky. I badly need a polythene sheet now,’ he said.
Mohiuddin lost his house more than three weeks ago and took shelter in a nearby house. But, as the flood situation worsened, he took refuge in the local school turned shelter home, from where he has come to the road.
Habibur Rahman of Gangarampur village under the same upazila, who took shelter on the Khulna-Paikgachha Highway near his village home, said the queue of makeshift shelters on the highway was increasing day-by-day and the people badly needed polythene sheets and fencing materials to get some protection from the elements.
Like Mohiuddin and Habibur, thousands of people have made it to the roads including the Khulna-Paikgachha Highway, Khulna-Satkhira Highway, and Kanaidia-Jethua, Tala-Kumira, and Binirpota-Rajnagar WDB roads, while thousands more are heading for them.
‘More than one thousand families of my union have taken shelter on the Khulna-Paikgachha Highway and most of them need polythene sheets and fencing materials,’ Khalilnagar Union Parishad chairman Pronob Ghosh Bablu told New Age.
Satkhira deputy commissioner Md Abdus Samad said they were distributing polythene sheets among the flood-hit people and different NGOs were also doing the same.
He, however, claimed that the number of shelter homes and people taking refuge on the roads was on the decline as the ‘situation was improving’.

 

Courtesy of New Age

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