A gesture of compassion
In a unique gesture to stand by the landslide victims, the Rangamati district administration has decided to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr with them at 19 shelter centres.
The administration staff will buy new clothes for about 3,000 people with money they were supposed to spend for themselves and their family members on the occasion of Eid.
Some 150 officials and employees donated their one-day salary to the victims who lost everything in the June 13 disaster that claimed 120 lives in the district. They are not taking the Eid leave either.
“We want every people at the shelters get at least one new dress. We are buying clothes for them,” said Executive Magistrate KM Ikhtiar Uddin Arafat, also the spokesperson for the district disaster control centre.
The staff of Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board and Bandarban fisheries office have also pitched in to help the victims by donating their one-day salary.
Arafat said they have already collected about Tk 4.5 lakh.
On the Eid day, the administration staff will spend time with the homeless people and take lunch with them.
Keeping this in mind, Rangamati Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Manzurul Mannan has cancelled the day's routine programme of meeting eminent citizens, high government officials and political leaders at his residence.
Visiting the Bangladesh Betar shelter centre on Tuesday night, this correspondent found that people were elated at the district administration's decision.
“Will they really come and celebrate Eid with us? We will feel good if it happens,” said Shamim.
Sitting next to him, Mehedy Hasan said: “People are living here like a family. If the officials come here, they would be our guests.”
DC Mannan said the administration took the initiatives on humanitarian grounds.
“Seeing the sufferings of people, I told my officials that I won't buy any clothes for myself and my family members on the occasion of Eid. I requested them to follow suit. I said our families' Eid shopping money could be spent for buying new dresses for the landslide victims.”
The administration staff would take lunch with the landslide victims at the shelters on the Eid day, he told The Daily Star.
He expressed satisfaction at the unanimous response from the staff.
Executive Magistrate Syed Mahbubul Haque said they happily accepted the DC's proposal.
“We will feel good to celebrate Eid with the landslide victims as they lost their homes and beloved ones in the disaster.”