Biting cold piles misery on poor
Temperature fell to 5.8 degrees Celsius in Tentulia of Panchagarh yesterday, this winter's lowest in the country.
A mild to moderate cold wave was sweeping over nine other districts -- Rajshahi, Bogura, Chuadanga, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Ishwardi in Pabna, Badalgachhi in Naogaon, Saidpur and Dimla in Nilphamari, and Rajarhat in Kurigram.
"A mild to moderate cold wave is sweeping over Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions and Chuadanga district, and it may spread to adjoining areas," said Abul Kalam Mallik, a meteorologist of Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
The cold weather may linger, he added.
In 2018, Bangladesh recorded its lowest ever temperature in history at 2.6 degrees Celsius in Tentulia.
The cold snap that is sweeping over the country's north has disrupted the lives of the people.
Labourers, children, and the elderly people are the worst sufferers of this cold weather.
Maloti Rani, 62, of Sapuipara village in Panchagarh's Boda upazila, said it is tough to continue everyday activityamid the biting wind from the north. "I cannot keep myself warm with blankets in my thatched home at night."
Ashraf Hossain, a farmer from Dinajpur Sadar upazila, said the prolonged cold spell may cause an extensive damage to crops, especially potatoes.
Spraying pesticides has become difficult due to the foggy weather, he said.
Labourer Paku Barman, 54, of Dakkhin Bathina village in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila said they struggle to work in the field due to the cold wind. As it is peak time for preparing land for Rabi crops, he has to work on the field, he said.
The number of patients, especially children and elderly people, receiving treatment at hospitals and clinics in Thakurgaon for cold-related diseases is on the rise.
Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, Rakibul Alam, resident medical officer at Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital, said some 130 child patients, mostly suffering from cold-related diseases, were taking treatment at the child ward.
Besides, many elderly people have been hospitalised with cold-related diseases, he added.
Aloka Rani, 40, of Jhargaon village in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila, said she admitted her seven-month-old daughter on Thursday night who was suffering from pneumonia.
Sajjat Shahin, senior child consultant at the hospital, said children get diarrhoea and their respiratory tracts are easily infected in the cold weather.
In many cases, guardians hospitalise their children late, he said.
Mahbubur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Thakurgaon, said about 35,000 blankets have already been distributed, but the number is inadequate against the demand.
[Our correspondents in Thakurgaon and Dinajpur contributed to this report.]