Thursday, 18 August, 2022

Eid brings no joy for flood victims in Sunamganj

Abdul Mannaf Mia, a 64-year-old rickshaw van driver from Sunamganj’s Chatak, along with his family members, took shelter in Tatikona Government Primary School three weeks ago.

He went to visit his home in the Bagbari area of the municipality several times but couldn’t think of returning there as the flooding left it in an unlivable situation.

Mannaf Mia went out with his rickshaw van on Friday but couldn’t earn much. He will have to spend Eid-ul-Azha in the shelter. The luckless flood victim doesn’t know how to arrange standard food for his family members.

"The floodwater has receded, but we are unable to go back to our house. Due to the damage caused by the flood, it needs to be repaired. I never imagined that I would have to spend Eid with my family in the shelter," Mannaf said sadly.

When asked about the assistance they received from the government and different voluntary organisations, he said they have been getting food assistance at regular intervals, but it is not enough to feed his eight-member family.

He also said that he has yet to receive any financial assistance from any corner of society.

Many families in the district, like Mannaf Mia and his family, have sought refuge in various educational facilities but continue to experience the same difficulties every day.

None of them have the capability to arrange better food on Eid day, let alone the thought of taking part in sacrificial activities imbued with the spirit of Eid-ul-Azha this year. 

Sadekur Rahman, a forty-two-year-old marginalised farmer from Narsinghapur union under Dowarabazar Upazila of Sunamganj, however, could return to his house, but by that time he had lost all his optimism about surivial.

"Eid is for those who have money and shelter and who have something to give to their children. But we have nothing," he lamented.

"I used to sacrifice cattle every year, but this year I could not buy any animals, not even share them with others," Sadekur said, apprehending that he would need at least two years to recover from the losses.

 According to government statistics, some 2.5 million people have been severely affected following devastating flash floods in Sunamganj’s 11 Upazilas. Some 45,288 houses in the district have been damaged by the flood. Of those, 4,747 houses have been completely damaged, while 40,541 houses have been partially damaged.

Sunamganj’s Deputy Commissioner, Jahangir Hossain, said they have been standing by the flood-affected people of the district and trying to offer them minimal relief on Eid.

"We have distributed 1,200,000 kg of rice among 120,000 families (10 kg of rice per family). According to the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s instruction, Tk 50,000,000 has been distributed to 5,000 families (Tk 10,000 for each family). We also handed over two bundles of corrugated sheets to each of the 60,000 families," he said.

When asked whether the amount of government assistance is enough for the flood-hit people, the Sunamganj deputy commissioner said they are extending all-out support from the amount allocated by the government.

He said people will get back to their normal lives as they return to their homes and to their professions.