Vol. 5 Num 53 Sun. July 18, 2004  
Front Page

Cry for food in Dhunat
Nepotism rules relief distribution among dam-cut victims

Mismanagement in inadequate relief distribution added to the woes of thousands of flood victims camping in the open on the Jamuna river in Dhunat without food and water after a dam-cut wiped their villages on Wednesday.

The victims alleged relief officials distributed relief to only hand-picked people in a display of nepotism while the helpless flood victims starved in the third day into the tragedy.

Some unknown miscreants cut open a right stretch of the flood protection embankment of the Jamuna in a sequel to a dispute between two pro-BNP groups of contractors over awarding of the dam construction work.

The local district administration is yet to take any step to save about two lakh people perched on the embankment after roiling waters carried their houses away.

Most areas of the upazila went under water in the wake of the embankment collapse amid raging flood in the northeastern and southern regions.

The Daily Star yesterday saw hundreds of distress people wading through floodwaters towards the upazila headquarters in the hope of relief materials, but returning to their makeshift shelters with broken heart at the end of the day.

Amena, 60, after loosing home to raging torrents went to Gonsaibari upazila for relief for the third day in a row, but returned empty-handed.

Julekha, a mother of three, also went there for relief materials for survival, but was disconsolate with grief without finding anything to eat.

"We heard there will be plenty of relief goods on Saturday afternoon, but found nothing," she said. Many other victims had the same tale to tell.

The food-hit people hoped there would be some relief materials during the visit of Deputy Leader of the Opposition Abdul Hamid.

"He disappointed us like the ruling party leaders," said a victim.

Ijjat Alim, 65, who took refuge on the embankment with six others of his family, had not even a polythene sheeting above his head.

"All family members are starving as there is nothing to cook," he said.

Jamila, who lost her husband about nine months ago, clung to her husband's house until floodwaters threatened to carry her away.

She hired a boat to ferry her to higher ground, but was unable to pay the boatman who seized her house in huff.

The situation of flooded Kazipur and Ratamnkadi is also same.

Desperate to save her valuables from the raging floodwaters in Kazipur upazila of Sirajganj, a housewife shifts an earthen stove onto the tin-roof of their half-submerged house yesterday. PHOTO: STAR