Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  
Front Page

Cold spell kills 35 more as dense fog paralyses life
Ferry services disrupted; mercury may start rising today

The cold wave sweeping most areas of the country claimed 35 lives in 24 hours till 6:00pm yesterday with the death toll rising to 76 in the last four days, most of them children and elderly people in the northern districts.

The first cold spell of this winter coupled with dense fog has paralysed normal life in a vast region including the capital. The situation would improve very slowly from today, met office said.

"The temperature will start rising within 24 hours, very slowly though," forecasting officer at the met office told The Daily Star last night. The lowest temperature -- 7.7 degree Celsius -- was recorded yesterday in Srimangal.

Thick fog disrupted ferry movement on Daulatdia-Paturia route for nine hours till 9:00am yesterday, causing severe traffic congestion on both sides of the Padma river and sufferings to thousands of passengers. Hundreds of vehicles, including buses, trucks and private cars, remained stranded due to poor visibility.

Our correspondents reported that dense fog disrupted plying of vehicles and water vessels in different districts.

Poor people in the northern region of the country have been the worst sufferers in the chilling cold. Unable to buy warm clothes, these people struggle to ward off cold bite at night by wrapping themselves with gunny and plastic bags, torn kantha, mosquito nets and such other things.

Moreover, hundreds of people in the affected districts have been suffering from different cold-related diseases like asthma, cold, diarrhoea and dysentery, the correspondents reported.

The district authorities kept on sending messages to the Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management seeking warm clothes and blanket.

Our Gaibandha correspondent reports: Cold wave has claimed six more lives in the district in the last 24 hours. The victims included six-day-old twin babies of Shalu Mia in the town and four elderly people.

Our staff correspondent in Bogra reports that five people died due to cold in Kurigram, including a two-year-old baby in the last 24 hours. And five others died in Pabna and one in Lalmonirhat due to cold-related diseases.

Our Rajshahi correspondent reports: Thick fog enveloped the city and other areas of the district till noon yesterday and the sun was not sighted. People were virtually forced to stay inside their houses and normal life was paralysed.

Agriculture experts say the cold spell would harm as well as benefit cultivation of cereals, other crops and fruits in the region.

Elias Hossain, chief scientific officer at the Wheat Research Centre (WRC), Rajshahi, told this correspondent that the bitter cold is 'good for blossoming of mangoes, litchis and other summer fruits as well as for wheat, maize and pulse.

He however added if the biting cold continues for more than a week, it will increase pest attack on various crops, including paddy saplings and roots of potato plants.

Our Dinajpur correspondent reported that at least five people died in Thakurgaon and Panchagarh yesterday from viral diseases as the cold wave blows across these districts, Dinajpur and other northern districts.

Sources at Panchagarh Sadar Hospital said last night, at least two people died of cold-related diseases at the hospital in the last 24 hours.

Three people died of viral diseases in Thakurgaon in the last 24 hours, district health official sources said last night.

Our Nilphamari correspondent, quoting district health officials, reported that a child died of pneumonia at Dimla upazila health complex last night. People of char areas in the Teesta river are suffering the most in the present cold wave. They are passing their days without warm clothes and many of them without food for lack of work due to the inclement weather.

Our Gazipur correspondent says an elderly woman died from cold bite at Samantapur in the district town.

Our Munshiganj correspondent reports: River erosion victims in Sadar, Tangibari and Lauhajung upazilas, who usually live under the open sky , have been the worst sufferers in the cold spell.

A UNB report says 10 people died from cold in Natore, Chapainawabganj, Magura and Rajbari districts in 24 hours till last night.

Six of them, including a one week-old baby, died of diarrhoea, pneumonia and other cold- related diseases in Natore town.

In Chapainawabgnaj, a young man and a woman died of such diseases.

In Magura, Abdur Rauf, 82, of Barishat village in Sadar upazila died from cold.

Besides, Abdur Rahman Sardar, 90, of Bura Mollarpara in Goalundo upazila of Rajbari died of cold-related diseases at Goalundo hospital in the early hours yesterday.