Thousands stranded in Dhal Char amid cyclone risk
Around 17 thousand people have so far been stranded in Dhal Char union of Bhola’s Charfashion as they could not be evacuated to any safer place although there is a cyclone risk.
There is no cyclone shelter in the union, reports our Jhalakathi correspondent quoting Abdus Salam, the union parishad chairman of Dhal Char.
The people cannot move to main land due to rough weather for the approaching severe cyclonic storm Fani.
Contacted, Mohammed Masud Alom Siddique, deputy commissioner (DC) of Bhola, said: “I am arranging to send two vehicles there for evacuating the residents to main land and also contacting with Bangladesh Naval force for their help to save the people of the char.”
“Now our main concentration is to Dhal Char,” he added.
However, the evacuation could not be made till last reported.
“We have heard that some water vehicles have been prepared to carry us the main land, but we haven’t seen it till Friday morning. We couldn’t sleep out of fear as the sea is rising and wind is blowing strongly,” said Babul Hossain, a leader of Dhal Char union Jubo League.
“We will have to take shelter inside the forest as it is high land and surrounded by forests from three sides. Although we know it is very risky, we have no alternative,” he said.
There are only two buildings in the union -- a police outpost and the union parishad building -- where a maximum of six hundred people can take shelter.
“Most of the people of the char are poor and cannot afford a good house. The government doesn’t take care of us, and thus we always depend on fate,” said Rafqul Islam, a fisherman of the area.
“Most people in the char are fishermen but there is not even a harbour to protect their fishing boats during such cyclone,” said Abdus Salam, the chairman of the union parishad.
“I have repeatedly requested the authorities for establishing some cyclone shelters in my union but none paid any heed to me. Today, the char people would have to fight the cyclone to survive,” he said.
“We are the worst victims in every natural calamity as we have to lose most of our livestock in storms as there is no highland where the animals can take shelter while many wild animals in the forests are washed away in the sea water during storms and floods,” he also said, adding that a sea truck was supposed to reach the island this morning but it has not arrived yet.