30 May 2009

Thousands without food, water; diseases break out

Dhaka, May 29 (bdnews24.com)—Thousands of marooned people in many cyclone-hit coastal areas in the south and southwest have received no food and other relief goods, five days after cyclone Aila ravaged through the coasts of Barisal and Khulna, killing 178 lives.The acute crisis of pure drinking water is feared to trigger diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. Four deaths have been reported in two affected upazilas in Satkhira on Thursday. Ten people are reported to be missing while 6708 were injured in the onslaught of Aila. Food and disaster minister Abdur Razzaq told the reporters on Thursday that 7,83,286 families in 15 districts were affected by the cyclone. He said the families of the deceased were initially given Tk 5000 which would subsequently rise to Tk 20,000.


About five lakh people in the four coastal areas of Mongla, Rampal, Sharankhola and Morelganj are suffering terribly for lack of pure drinking water. Rabeya Khatun, a woman Union Parishad member of Southkhali Union under Sharankhola Upazila, said the water of all the ponds became salty which could not be used for washing hands and faces let alone drinking. Water resources minister Romesh Chandra Sen on Thursday visited the damaged dams and distributed relief goods among the affected people.


The remotest char areas of Patuakhali have not yet received any relief. Thousands of marooned people are eagerly waiting for relief. Shortage of pure drinking water is also soaring. However, control room of the deputy commissioner reported that Tk 9 lakh and 610 metric tones of rice have been distributed among the affected people. Some places including Patuakhali municipality are still waterlogged.


Communications to some areas including Burir Char is still cut off from the rest of the district and some 40000 families of the district have not had any relief. However, district relief and rehabilitation officials said 600 tones of rice and Tk 7 lakh have been distributed.


Most of the places of Kayra and Dakop upazilas are still submerged. Different political parties including BNP are participating in the relief work. Locals complained a hike in price of daily essentials.


Diarrhoea and other skin diseases are breaking out for a lack of fresh water. Four people reportedly died of diarrhoea in the district. Irregularities and mismanagement were reported in relief distribution in some areas.