Vol. 4 Num 187 Thu. December 04, 2003  

Marooned in dry season!
Manmade flood in 15 Satkhira villages: Thousands face food crisis because of two subsequent crop loss

Believe it or not, about 20,000 people in 15 villages in Kolaroa upazila are virtually marooned in the ongoing dry season.

Stagnant water has stopped life as all cultivable lands are under three to four feet water.

Most areas in the four unions look like sheets of water, covered with water hyacinth at places.

Many of affected people have moved to highlands and many others to Satkhira, living as destitute.

The sufferings befell them as the floodwater from the Kobodak following a breach in the river in the first week of October has not been cleared.

Neither the people's representatives nor the local administration took any initiative to remove the water despite repeated appeals, some local people told this correspondent during a recent visit.

They said they are suffering for want of food. The Aman crop has been lost and there is no scope to grow IRRI-Boro, wheat or winter vegetables as water will remain stagnant for another couple of months, if not cleared, they said.

The government relief is also scanty.

The 15 villages are Khanpara, Malopara, Sardar para, Kndapara, Kamerpara, Karikerpara, Gazi para, Jelepara, Mathpara, Nathpara, Kashiadanga, Khetrapara, Bamankhali, Jugikhali and Sarashkati in Deara, Jugikhali, Jalalabad and Joynagar unions under Kalaroa upazila.

Shahar Banu, 65 of Deara union said her family members remain virtually half-fed most of the days in a week. "There are many like us", she said in front of her damaged hut.

Most of the people are marginal farmers, day labourers or small traders.

It was earlier reported that the sudden flooding demolished 4073 kutcha houses, completely damaged crops on 2560 hectares and washed away fishes from ponds and fish enclosures. Six educational institutions were damaged partially.

Floodwater receded from adjacent unions but no measure has been taken to clear the water from the four unions.

After loss of Aman crop, the people hoped for cultivating IRRI-Boro, wheat and winter vegetables once the water is cleared. But all our hopes have been dashed, said Junab Ali of Kandapara village.

Satkhira district administration said they distributed 10 tonnes of rice among the affected people. The Satkhira unit of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society distributed 30 tonnes of rice so far.

Manmade flood...Three villagers (left) wading through chest-deep water along the submerged Sharashkati-Deara road and (right) homeless people have taken shelter in makeshift thatches on the high Jugikhali-Deara road. The photos were taken last week.. PHOTO: STAR