12:00 AM, November 17, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 17, 2007

Storm Fallout

City life disrupted

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Wasim Bin Habib

The city dwellers suffered their share of the Sidr fallouts as the tropical cyclone cut across the capital early yesterday leaving power lines snapped, trees uprooted and roads strewn with wayside billboards and other objects.
At least seven people died and over a dozen injured adding to the horrors that had already gripped the residents.
Electricity supply remained cut off in almost all areas because of breakdown of transformers. Power outage left a domino effect on water supply and other utilities. Disruptions to Internet connections and mobile phone network worsened things further.
Water could not be pumped out forcing many to go for bottle water. Some people at Keraniganj were selling water drawn by generators at Tk 3 to 4 per pitcher.
“There was no water left in the reservoir as Wasa (Water and Sewerage Authority) stopped supply. I managed only three buckets of water just to meet the very basic needs,” said Waresur Rahman, a resident of Mirpur 2.
Because of power cuts continuing for hours, foods in the refrigerator would soon start rotting, he feared.
Meanwhile, the Power Development Board (PWD) authorities last night said it would take at least until noon today to restore power supply in the capital and elsewhere in the country excepting the coastal districts that were worst hit by the cyclone.
A large number of houses made of tin and thatch were left in ruins across Shewrapara, Jatrabari, Shanir Akhra, Demra and Shyampur while trees on a vast swathe across Osmani Udyan, Ramna and Suhrawardy Udyan were pulled out of the ground.
A security guard was injured as a tree on the premises of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) fell over. A similar incident at East Rampura left three people injured.
The storm tore down a good number of billboards along Darus-Salam Road in Mirpur, Technical intersection, Kalyanpur, Bangla Motor and Pragati Sarani. Electricity cables and other wires ripped out by winds gusting through the neighbourhoods lay precariously open on the roads and walkways.
Patients in clinics and hospitals were the worst sufferers as their treatment was hampered severely for the extraordinary conditions brought about by Sidr. Most of the operations scheduled were called off till further notice.
The Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) authorities struggled to cope with the situation as doctors and nurses moved frenziedly to attend the patients with candlelight and in some cases the flickering light of cell phones. Only some emergency operations were carried out with the help of generators.
Panic gripped the patients and their attendants as soon as the lights went off at 11:00pm Thursday. Many told The Daily Star that despite repeated attempts they could not go out to buy medicine and food due to blustery weather.
Monsur Ali Sardar, an attendant, said, "I managed a bag of blood last night for my brother-in-law who must have some blood by today (yesterday). But I don't know whether the tests required before a blood is taken from the donor were done properly since there was no power at that time."
Similar was the condition at Sir Salimullah Medical College.
The night was even longer for those having families and relations in the coastal belts as they could not have any access to information.
"As the power went off, I lost contact with my parents in Satkhira. To make things worse, the mobile network stopped being operative," Nasim Reza, a student, said.
Only a few transports that were on the roads charged unusually high, making commuting an uphill task for the ones who did not reach home yet.

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