A woman farmer has died of heart attack she had apparently failing to bear the news that flash flood washed away most of her crops in Habiganj's Baniachong upazila.
Mosammat Tarabanu, 45, suffered the cardiac arrest on Thursday while weeping in her home in Najarpur village, said Sahid Mia, a local union parishad member.
Wife of a physically challenged man, Tarabanu, who had a son and two daughters, had cultivated Boro crops on 2.5 acres of land after taking a loan from a non-government organisation.
However, she, on Thursday, found out that flash floods inundated most of her crops in that haor area, Abdul Hamid, one of her neighbours, said, adding the woman could not bear the shock and passed away.
Early flash floods, triggered by incessant rain and onrush of water from the river upstream, have flooded vast areas of farmland in the country's northeastern region. Usually such flash floods strike the areas in April but this year they came quite early, leaving the farmers with no chance to harvest their crops.
Tofazzal Sohel, general secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon's (BPA) Habiganj chapter, told our Moulvibazar correspondent: “I visited most of the haor areas in Habiganj. The floods have devastated the farmers…”
“The death of Tarabanu is extremely tragic.”
Meanwhile, BPA's Habiganj and Khowai River Water-keeper, a platform working for the protection of the river, formed a human chain on Friday, demanding compensation to the farmers in Sylhet for the crop loss and protesting “negligence” of Water Development Board in building embankments in time.
Speakers at the programme organised in the district's Sirishtola area also demanded that the government declares Habiganj as a “distressed area”.
Contacted, Nurul Islam Sarker, superintending engineer of the WDB (Sylhet division), said, “Efforts are underway to repair the embankments for saving the croplands. The situation has deteriorated this year due to the early strikes by flash floods.”
Meanwhile, the affected haor people of Khaliajury in Netrakona district formed a human chain on Friday also demanding that the government declares the upazila as an “affected area”, reports our Mymensingh correspondent.
At the programme held in front of the upazila parishad, they also demanded that the government constructs permanent embankment from the Dhanu river to the Meghna, introduces OMS and food related programmes, compensates for the crop losses and provides farmers with interest-free agriculture loan.
Some 87 embankments of the haor areas have been damaged in the flashfloods and out of total 20,070 hectares of land, 19,500 have been affected, said Shafiqul Islam, Khaliajury upazila agriculture officer.
Flashfloods submerged around 48,670 out of 184,320 hectares of land targeted for Boro cultivation in eight upazilas of Netrakona, said Bilash Chandra Pal, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension of the district.
Government reliefs of 64 metric tons of rice and Tk 30,000 have been distributed among the flood-hit people so far, said Mohammed Tofael Ahmed, Khaliajury upazila nirbahi officer.
Haor people used to celebrate Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year, with much fanfare but this year, it was totally missing due to their cropland going under water, said Khaliajury's Krishnapur UP chairman Nazimuddin Sarker.
WDB OFFICIAL WITHDRAWN IN SYLHET
The authorities have withdrawn Afsar Uddin, executive engineer of WDB in Sunamganj, for his alleged involvement in corruption in repair work of an embankment.
Afsar has been attached to the WDB head office in Dhaka, Abdul Hai, acting chief engineer of Sylhet WDB, told our Sylhet correspondent.
After flashfloods washed way thousands of hectares of land in the Haor areas and farmers raised allegation that WDB did not repair dams in time, Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday formed a committee to look into whether graft had anything to do with the havoc in haor.