With scant or no relief from the government, several lakh flood-hit people in the northern districts are faced with an acute crisis of food and drinking water.
As the flood inundated many low-lying areas in northern and northeastern regions over the past few days, the affected people have taken shelter on the highlands and embankments. But emergency relief materials were yet to reach them.
Abdul Haque, 46, of Rahmatpur village in Kurigram Sadar, said he along with 37 other families has been staying on a highland for the last three days and has since been living on the little dried food they had brought themselves.
“None has come with food yet," he said yesterday.
"We have been living on only dry foods like ruti, puffed rice, flattened rice and molasses as we cannot cook here,” said Asgor Ali, 70, of Char Narsingh village in Lalmonirhat's Aditmari upazila. He was staying on an embankment at a nearby village as his own went under water last week.
Shortage of drinking water had become a major concern for them as well, he added.
Mofazzal Hossain, chairman of Rajpur union parishad in Lalmonirhat Sadar, said he had sought relief materials for the flood-affected people of his area from the local administration on Thursday, but received no response till yesterday.
“So, I personally distributed some dry foods among the affected people."
The picture is almost the same elsewhere though the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre (NDRCC) claims 1,500 metric tonnes of rice and Tk 20 lakh have already been allocated as relief for 12 flood-hit districts.
“But in some places the amount of relief may be insufficient or the local administration perhaps is late in taking those to the victims,” said Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of the NDRCC.
The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) said 11 rivers were flowing above the danger level at 16 monitoring points yesterday.
Though water level of rivers in the northern districts was coming down, rivers in the central part, especially the Padma, are likely to swell up further, said FFWC Executive Engineer Amirul Hossain.
“The increase in water flow may cause flooding in the central districts, including Tangail, Munshiganj, Madaripur and Shariatpur in the next few days,” he told The Daily Star.
Worse still, India is releasing three lakh cubic metre water per second through Gazaldoba Barrage into Bangladesh. This, coupled with heavy downpours, has caused recurrence of flooding in Nilphamari's Joldhaka and Dimla in the Teesta basin yesterday.
In Bogra, around 20,000 flood victims were passing their days amid sufferings as government relief materials were yet to reach most of the affected areas.
At least 46 educational institutes in Bogra and 52 in Gaibandha remained closed due to the flood.
Meanwhile, a three-year-old child drowned in floodwater at Saniazan of Hatibandha upazila in Lalmonirhat yesterday.
Milon Islam, son of Samad Miah, was sitting on a cot inside their house as floodwater had submerged the floor of the house. The child at one point fell from the cot into the water while his mother was away.
Like the past few days, strong currents and erosion in the swelling Padma hampered ferry services on Paturia-Doulatdia and Mawa-Kawrakandi routes yesterday as well.
Twelve ferries out of 16 could be operated and the number of trips made by each ferry was halved, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded on both the sides for hours.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation requested transport owners to avoid Paturia-Daulatdia route for 14 hours from 6:00am yesterday due to congestion of vehicles on both ends persisting over the last two days.