18 villages flooded as embankment in Khulna collapses | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 03, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 03, 2010

18 villages flooded as embankment in Khulna collapses

Over 10,000 families of 18 villages in Sutarkhali and Kamarkhola unions under Dakope upazila of Khulna district have been rendered homeless due to flooding caused by embankment collapse on Monday and early yesterday.
Vast tracts of croplands have also gone under knee-deep water as two newly constructed embankments on both sides of Nalian River of Dakope upazila collapsed under the pressure of strong currents of Nalian and Shibsha rivers.
Seventy to 80 ponds and shrimp enclosures have overflowed, said Dakope upazila parishad Chairman Sheikh Abul Hossain.
Water Development Board (WDB) authorities did not use materials properly as required for sustaining them, the upazila chairman said.
Lack of proper monitoring and maintenance by WDB also made the newly constructed embankments vulnerable to collapse by high tides, said UNO Kazi Atiur Rahman.
The homeless people are staying on open spaces of other embankments and high places.
The affected 18 villages of the unions are Nalian, Baintala, Gunari, Madhayam Gunari, Kalabogi, Uttarpara, Dakkhin Nalian, Purbo Gunari, Katabunia, Keorhatala, Majhipara, Golbunia, Jaliakhali, Bhitebhanga, Srinagar, Sutarkhali, Nalian Madhyapara and Telirkona.
Breaches developed in the embankments as furious tides rose up to 6 to 7 feet higher than normal levels, said Engineer Anowar Hossain of Water Development Board (WDB).
The government had allocated Tk 12 crore for reconstruction of 21-kilometre-long 34 embankments and ten closures in Kamarkhola and Sutarkhali unions that were badly hit by cyclonic storm Aila on May 25 last year, he said.
Contractors who won the bid for reconstruction of embankments started their works on February 13 and it completed at the end of the month.
Expressing ignorance about whether contractors did their works properly as specified in the tender schedule, engineer Anowar Hossain said, "I cannot say right at this moment why embankments developed breaches so soon and collapsed afterwards."
"The government must give special attention to Aila-hit Dakope that largely contributes to shrimp production and revenue earnings from forest resources.
All possible steps must be taken on top priority basis to save the upazila from devastation by frequent natural calamities and vagaries of nature," Upazila Chairman Abul Hossain said.
Food Minister Abdur Razzak is scheduled to visit Dakope upazila today, officials said.

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