Rangamati still alarmed as rain yet to let up
12:00 AM, June 20, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:49 AM, June 20, 2017

Rangamati still alarmed as rain yet to let up

People keep streaming into shelters; crisis of clothes, space

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As it continued to rain yesterday, people kept coming to the shelters for landslide victims in Rangamati.

They feared further landslides due to the rain and streamed the shelters on the advice of the local administration. Some of the 19 shelters in the district are already overcrowded.

The people were being served meals twice a day but most of them were facing a crisis of clothes and space. Many of them have only one dress and they get drenched whenever it rains as they have to stay on the veranda.

Army, police, Border Guard Bangladesh and Red Crescent are operating the shelters.

"I have been wearing the same clothes for days. It feels disgusting,” Oli Sharif, a man who is staying at a shelter set up at Rangamati College, told The Daily Star yesterday.

The scenes at the other 18 shelters were similar.

Mohammad Harun, who is staying at the Bangladesh Open University shelter centre, said many of them were falling sick as they could not sleep properly due to lack of space.

“It's so packed with people that sometimes it's hard to even stand up here,” he said, urging the authorities concerned to consider the issue.

Talking to The Daily Star, many people who arrived at the shelters yesterday said they feared there might be more landslides amid the pouring rain. They urged the government to ensure the supply of other necessary items like medicine, brush, soap, towel, blanket, etc.

The district administration was grappling with the crisis, said KM Ikhtiar Uddin Arafat, spokesman for the district administration disaster control room. Rain would only increase the sufferings of the people, he added.

He said they called upon different organisations to provide the affected people with relief materials.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Manzurul Mannan, deputy commissioner of Rangamati, yesterday told reporters that the number of people at the 19 shelters was over 2,900.

A day after the disastrous landslide struck the district last week, he had some 700 to 800 people were at the shelters.

The death toll from the landslide in the district rose to 118 yesterday from 115, he said at a press briefing at his office.

He said Tk 80 was being spent and 420 grams of rice was being cooked every day for each of those staying at the shelters.

He also said the supply of goods through Kaptai water channel was made free of cost so that the supply remained normal and there was no hike in the prices of essentials.

He said some unscrupulous traders created an artificial crisis and charged people extra, taking the opportunity.

Rangamati's road communication with Chittagong would be restored in a couple of days for the movement of light vehicles, Mannan added.

Reaz Ahmed, director general at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), said the government was prepared to provide shelter and food and other necessary items to those who lost their homes in landslides.

After the landslide, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief allocated 1,472 tonnes of rice and Tk 1.42 crore cash for distribution among the affected people in Chittagong, Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari.

The 666 tonnes of rice allocated for Cox's Bazar after the cyclone, Mora, is being distributed, he added.

"If needs arise, we will allocate more," Reaz Ahmed told The Daily Star.

According to the DDM, 2,124 people took shelters at 19 shelter centres in Rangamati, 388 people at five centres in Bandarban and 180 people at two shelter centres in Khagrachhari.

"Those taking shelters in the centres are being provided cooked food. If necessary, they will also be provided with clothes or baby food. The district administration has been instructed accordingly," Reaz Ahmed said.

[Our reporter Porimol Palma contributed to the report]

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