Cry for relief in Sylhet city’s shelters too
Cry for relief is getting louder in Sylhet and Sunamganj as at least 40 lakh people remain stranded due to flood in the two districts and over 3 lakh of them have taken refuge at different shelters.
Apart from those stranded in the remote villages, 6,000 people have taken shelter at 56 centres in Sylhet City.
Food is being provided at many of these shelters on private initiative and most local councillors have not visited the centres yet.
About 150 flood-affected people have taken shelter in Durgakumar Pathshala of Bandarbazar in Sylhet city since June 16.
The school is just opposite to Nagar Bhaban of Sylhet City Corporation and within 500 yards from the office of the Deputy Commissioner and Sylhet Zilla Parishad.
While talking to the flood victims at the centre, this correspondent was informed that the local councillor visited on June 16. But the flood victims said they did not receive any government assistance yet. However, many locals have given them cooked or dry food a few times.
Md Mostu Mia, an elderly person from Chhararpar area of the city, has taken shelter there with his family of 13 including his grandchildren.
"I have been here since Thursday (June 16) with my family," he said, "My house went under waist-deep water. Some people gave us cooked food. We have not received any government assistance yet."
Rahisa Begum said, "I am surviving by collecting thrown away vegetables at wholesale market. There is no work and I am stranded here with five of my children. No government relief reached us, but locals are helping with food occasionally."
Biman Talukder has been voluntarily working to support the flood victims in the city with food and other necessities.
"I first heard that the city corporation has a major initiative to deal with the flood victims. But one day later, I realised that there is no such initiative. Most shelters do not get government assistance. With the exception of a few councillors like Santu Dutt, most have never visited any shelter," he said.
Contacted, Ruhul Alam, an executive engineer in charge of managing the shelters in the city, also spoke about the city corporation's helplessness.
He said, "The district administration has so far allocated 30 tonnes of rice and 500 packets of dry food. But no cash was given. In this situation, rice will not help people in the shelters and dry food is inadequate."
"In some areas, councillors have stood by the flood victims on their own initiatives or in association with various voluntary organisations," he said, "We will start distributing dry foods on our own initiative from today (June 20, 2022). Fifteen boats have also been procured to facilitate relief efforts."