3 June 2009

Cyclone Aila

Cyclone Aila began as a disturbance on May 21 in the Bay of Bengal, strengthening quickly to a Tropical Cyclone with wind speeds gusting up to 120 km/h (75 mph). Aila made landfall soon after, bringing heavy rains, wind, and an enormous storm surge of seawater that pushed inland, damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes in Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. Over 300 people are confirmed to have died, with more than 8,000 still missing. Surviving residents are now receiving aid, mourning the lost, beginning to rebuild - and some are leveling criticism at their own governments, asking why stronger storm defenses were not in place. According to the Associated Press, some 2.3 million people were affected by Aila.

Shortage of cyclone shelters

12 lack people in coastal areas remain vulnerable

Nearly 12 lack extremely poor people in 15 coastal districts of the country remain exposed to the fury of cyclone every year due to inadequate cyclone center. Majority of the people who lost their lives in the in the cyclone Aila that battered 11 coastal districts a few days ago belonged to the extreme poor bracket. They could not take shelter for their safety because of inadequate shelter. A total of 12 lack hard core poor out of 26.46 lack have no access to the 2,729 cyclone shelter centers in those coastal districts, sources in the Food and Disaster Management told the New Nation yesterday. Of the 3,025 cyclone shelter centers in the coastal districts, 296 are in a ramshackle condition for lack of repair and maintenance. Of the centers, a total of 1,490 cyclone shelter centers are in Chittagong division for 1.68 corer people, 544 centers in Khulna division for 56.25 lack people and 1,171 cyclone shelter centers in Barisal division for 92.68 lack people. Some 1,271 more cyclone shelter centers should be built in the coastal districts for giving shelter to all 26.46 lack extreme poor people, according to sources. Besides, there are 93 cattle shelter centers (Killah), which can accommodate only 87,340 cattle against the demand of nearly 500 killah for 5.78 lack cattle in the region. In the last cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the Food and Disaster Management Ministry to build adequate cyclone center as a part of the long-term rehabilitation program for the cyclone-hit people. During the past caretaker government, the Food and Disaster Management Minister placed a project to construct 816 cyclone shelter centers at a cost of Tk 16,00 corer in 2007-08 fiscal. But the Finance Ministry did not approve it citing financial constraint. At a press briefing yesterday, Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said that the government has taken step to construct cyclone shelter center and cattle shelter and reconstruct embankments as a long-term rehabilitation program in the cyclone prone districts. Human casualties and loss of cattle were higher due to insufficient shelter and weak embankments. Cyclone Aila claimed 179 lives and inflicted injuries on 7,153 people, according to a government estimate.
On the other hand, a total of 1,02,215 livestock were killed by the tidal surge during the cyclone.

people need more int'l aid: Oxfam

More help needed from the international community as survivors of cyclone 'Aila' face contaminated water and disease, aid agency Oxfam said on Tuesday. Cyclone survivors in Bangladesh are now facing a severe risk of disease as supply of safe drinking water is reaching to a crisis levels, a press release of Oxfam said. The full picture of the devastation caused by the cyclone is only now fully emerging. Salt water has contaminated nearly all the fresh water sources in the south-west of the country and damaged around a third in central and south-eastern districts. The sanitation systems have collapsed in all cyclone affected areas and human, animal and fish corpses are polluting the countryside, the release said. Cyclone Aila hit the Bangladesh coast on May 25, affecting 3.6 million people and leaving over 7.50 lakh people homeless. Head of Oxfam in Bangladesh Heather Blackwell said, "The cyclone affected areas of Bangladesh are now an ideal breeding ground for all kinds of diseases." In may areas as the sources of fresh water have been polluted by the sea water, forcing people to drink dirty water, he added. Oxfam chief said, "The government of Bangladesh is trying to cope with the problem and has already asked for foreign aid." Oxfam urged the international community to respond generously to help cyclone victims", he added. Oxfam is currently expanding its emergency response to reach 1.10 lack people in the most severely affected districts of Khulna and Shatkhira.

Govt to seek help from devlopment partners

The government prefers seeking assistance from the development partners for permanent solutions like setting up more cyclone shelter centres and infrastructures to save the coastal people, rather than funding for seminars and workshops. “There are only around 2200 cyclone shelter centres, and 2000 more are needed. We will approach internationally in next 15 to 20 days for such centres…spending money for seminars and workshops won't do anything to the victims,” Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said yesterday. Addressing a press conference at the ministry, he said the government would seek assistance from the international community for permanent solutions to the coastal people. The decision in this regard will be taken in a meeting of External Relations Division tomorrow, Razzaque told newsmen. Meanwhile, State Minister for Religious Affairs Shahjahan Miah, State Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Health Minister Dr AFM Ruhul Haque and Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Mashiur Rahman have been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating the emergency relief operations in Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Satkhira and Khulna districts. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appointed them for the task on Monday's cabinet meeting, following allegation of lack of coordination in providing relief materials in the areas affected by the cyclone on May 25, Abdur Razzaque said. Armed Forces Division (AFD), meanwhile, at another press briefing at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday said 1,500 people from army, navy and air force are deployed in the rescue and relief operation and will continue their operation until people return to normal life. Abdur Razzaque said the government was planning short, medium and long-term initiatives to rehabilitate the Aila-affected people. Immediately, Tk 116 crore has been allocated to repair flood protection embankments, but total repair of the embankment will require Tk 416 crore. Army will exclusively work in three upazilas to repair the embankment, he said. According to the official statistics, so far 179 people died, while 7153 were injured and overall 34,19,528 people were affected by the cyclone that ripped through 11 districts. Damages in the cyclone include around 6 lakh houses, over 6000 kilometres roads and 1,493 kilometres embankments. Over 10 lakh livestock died, while crops on over 3 lakh acres of land damaged. “The cash or relief materials food, water, medicines we are providing are enough. We will increase the amounts if necessary,” Dr Abdur Razzaque said, expecting that the affected people will soon be able to recover their losses. The diarrhea situation is also under control, he said, adding that 34 medical teams of army and navy have been deployed to treat diarrhea patients.Brig Gen Qazi Abidus Samad, director (operations and plan) of AFD, at the press briefing at Dhaka Cantonment called upon the media to focus on the Aila-affected areas where armed forces could not reach. Lt Col Main Ullah Chowdhury, GSO-1 (Joint Operations) of Operations and Plan Directorate of AFD, said so far the armed forces distributed 36.5 tons of dry food, drinking water, water purification tablets, and cloths. Pure water is being supplied to affected people through 16 water treatment plants, he said.

1 June 2009

Bangladesh asks for foreign aid after cyclone

Half a million people in Bangladesh were still stranded
after the cyclone wiped out hundreds of homes.

KOYRA, Bangladesh (AFP) —Bangladesh said it was struggling to reach hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims and would seek foreign aid to rebuild scores of damaged homes and roads. The call for help came a week after Cyclone Aila battered southern Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, killing almost 300 people. Bangladesh's food and disaster management minister Abdur Razzak told AFP that some half a million people were still stranded after the cyclone wiped out homes and destroyed more than 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) of embankments. A military and civilian relief operation began soon after the cyclone hit, but many of the low-lying remote areas north of the Bay of Bengal were without drinking water. "We are struggling to ensure supply of drinking water to the worst affected areas," he said, adding lack of shelter was also a problem."We don't need any food or relief, but we are going to seek foreign aid to build embankments and cyclone shelters. We have to build the embankments immediately to protect people from salty water." The worst affected areas were experiencing daily flooding at high tide because the cyclone had washed away levees and embankments, he said. This was contaminating drinking water and more than a million people were suffering from diarrhea, according to medical officials. On Sunday doctors and charities called the outbreak a "humanitarian crisis" and warned it could spread across the southern part of the country. In Bangladesh, the death toll was 168 while in neighbouring India officials said 125 people had died as a result of the cyclone. Some 6.4 million families in West Bengal were living in the cyclone-affected area, an official told the Press Trust of India. State authorities were seeking more than 200 million dollars in aid from the central government to help to rebuild damaged infrastructure. The low-lying region frequently experiences tropical storms and cyclones during the monsoon season. In 2007, more than 3,500 people were killed, most of them in Bangladesh, when Cyclone Sidr lashed the same districts.

Its change of mind came as the magnitude of damage done by cyclone Aila

The government ultimately backtracked on its stance against seeking foreign aid to tackle the cyclone aftermath and now felt the necessity of calling for donors'' assistance to foot a huge bill for feeding and rehabilitating millions of hard-hit people, reports UNB. Its change of mind came as the magnitude of damage done by cyclone Aila, in terms of loss of life and property, kept coming to light and the government made a fairly big allocation of Tk 249 crore for relief and rehabilitation operations. Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr Abdur Razaque, after an inter-ministerial meeting on Sunday evening, came up with his changed view, saying that foreign aid is now essential to deal with the huge losses incurred by the coastal communities, who are unprotected from the brackish water of the Bay. While talking to reporters after the meeting at the Food and Disaster Management Ministry, he, however, said the government does not want to go begging but "will welcome any foreign aid". Dr Razzaque also urged all political parties and civil society to come forward to help out the affected people and to stay beside them until total recovery from the disaster-a double hit as Aila lashed at the coast while people were yet to rebuild their life and livelihood wrecked by the 2007 super-cyclone Sidr. He said they have consulted various foreign donors and they assured the government of extending all-out cooperation in addressing the post-cyclone situation. Dr Razzaque said they couldn''t figure out the extent of damage completely even after the passage of seven days since the cyclone struck. "We''re yet to calculate how much money will be needed to rehabilitate the distressed people who are badly affected by the Cyclone," he said. He said the government pulled its highest efforts to overcome the post-cyclone critical situation using its internal mechanisms. The Minister admits that safe drinking water and food distribution apparently became daunting problems. "We''ve already decided to allocate Tk 10 crore more for food and safe drinking water supply." Another amount of Tk 20 crore will be allocated for rehabilitating the affected people and rebuilding their houses. The meeting also decided to allocate Tk 116 crore for repairing damaged embankments. Of the total, Tk 75 crore will be given in terms of wheat and the remaining Tk 41 crore in cash. Army personnel will be engaged in repairing embankments of Ashashuni, Shyamnagar and Shoronkhola while the remaining embankments will be repaired by Water Development Board, the Minister informed the reporters. As per the calculation of Local Government Ministry, a total of 736-km roads were damaged fully for which Tk 103 crore will be spent for repairs, Dr Razzaque said. In the meantime, one more body was recovered from the Aila-hit area Sunday, taking the official death toll to 168 from the fatal storm that hit the country''s southern coastal districts last Monday afternoon. According to data provided by the control room of Food and Disaster Management Ministry, none is missing now even though officials concerned earlier had said 10 might have been washed away by tidal surge. Meanwhile, the government has taken all necessary steps to provide healthcare services to the Aila-affected people, said a Health and Family Welfare Ministry. Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haq said a total of 891 medical teams are working in the cyclone-hit areas. He hoped that they would be able to bring the situation under control. Besides, adequate oral saline, water-purification tablets and other medicines have been sent to the affected areas, officials said. In its initial assessment report, the control room said the cyclone affected around 3606116 people of 801602 families in 67 upazilas of 12 districts. Some 7,108 people were injured and 95,325 domestic animals perished in the cyclone. Standing crops on some 75,119.8 acres of land were damaged completely while on 25,2,286 acres partially by the devastating cyclone. Besides, about 227,447 houses were fully damaged while 313,904 partially. Meanwhile, 15,150 metric tons of rice has been distributed among the storm-hit people in the coastal belt as relief while Tk 2,75,00,000 in cash. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haq, Water Recourses Minister Romesh Chandra Sen and Fisheries and Livestock Minister Latif Siddiqui joined the meeting. Earlier, a secretarial-level meeting was also held for a review of the post-cyclone situation and relief and rescue operation. Meanwhile, the US government will provide $295,000 as disaster-relief assistance following the cyclonic storm ''Aila'' that battered Bangladesh''s southwestern coastal districts last week. United States Ambassador James F Moriarty has issued "disaster declaration" due to the magnitude of the damage caused by Aila, an announcement from the embassy said Sunday. This declaration will provide US$100,000 from the US Agency for International Development''s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to CARE and World Vision for emergency assistance to the cyclone-affected areas. In addition, the US Government, through USAID, will provide US$ 195,000 for emergency survival packs that include plastic sheeting, eating utensils, candles, rope, soap, matches and mosquito netting to distribute to Aila-affected people. The US has deployed 14 mobile water-purification machines to supply drinking water, as brackish seawater whipped inland by the cyclone polluted most sources of drinking water. Each unit is capable of producing 50,000 liters of clean drinking water per day, providing 700,000 liters per day to 70,000 households left without a drop to drink. The Government of the United States, working closely with partners in disaster relief and mitigation in Bangladesh for many years, provided $111.5 million in the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr in November 2007 to provide new income opportunities, restore property, and help rebuild lives. The Government has funded construction and maintenance of multipurpose flood and cyclone shelters throughout the country as well as wave-protection walls and earthen embankments to reduce flood damage. "In addition to building nearly 4,000 such structures since 2005, USAID has trained local disaster-management committees to oversee emergency response activities and provided cyclone-preparedness training," the release said.

Donors pledge support for cyclone-hit

Food and disaster management minister Abdur Razzaque has said the government has secured assurances from the donors on supports in the rehabilitation efforts for the cyclone-hit people. The government will need foreign help to overcome the huge losses caused by cyclone, he said on Saturday and added that a meeting was already held with donor countries and agencies, as well. The government was yet to assess the exact losses caused by cyclone Aila on May 25. The meeting to discuss the losses and other relevant problems was held at the food ministry and attended, among others, by agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, health minister AFM Ruhal Haque, water resources minister Ramesh Chandra Sen and fish and livestock minister Abdul Latif Biswas. Razzaque, who presided over the meeting, said work on the losses from the cyclone and tidal bore was on-going. The minister called upon all, including the opposition parties and NGOs to help the distressed. He said because of the tidal surge, 213-km embankment in the coastal area was totally affected and 1128 km embankment partially. Some 213-km embankment needs immediate repair at a cost of Tk 116 crore, according to the Water Development Board. The meeting approved the fund, of which Tk 75 crore would come through nearly 25,000 tonnes of rice and wheat and the remainder in cash. The Roads and Highway Department will repair about 730-km highway at a cost of Tk 103 crore. The minister said tidal surge affected wide areas and every family in the areas would get 29 kg rice as relief. He said the main problem now was water, for which arrangement was being made. If need be, helicopter will be put on the service to supply water. There are problems with livestock animals and their food and the government was thinking of setting up 'Kella' or shelters in highlands for animals, he added. He said in the cyclone-affected areas 15,150 tonnes of rice and Tk 2.75 crore have been distributed. Sarees and lungis have also been also sent to different areas. Another Tk 10 crore and Tk 20 crore specifically for house reconstruction were sanctioned on Sunday. Health minister Ruhal Haque said diarrhoea broke out in the affected areas with nearly 200 people attacked.

Coastal areas still bearing brunt of storm Aila

A FLOATING FAMILY: Trawler seems to be a permanent
abode for them as the coastal belt remains submerged following
storm Aila. They are unprotected as the breached embankment
was not repaired yet.


Coastal areas and other parts of the district lying in the country's south-western region is still bearing the brunt of devastating cyclone Aila that has swept most villages with tidal surges leaving the affected areas to still reel under water. Thousands of people were rendered homeless as the storm with 8 to 13 feet tidal surges hit the district on May 25, leaving a vast trail of wreckage, breaking flood protection embankments at 25 points and submerging at least 75 villages in the district. At least 78 unions under seven upzilas of the district were affected by the cyclone Aila. Of them, 10 unions are fully affected and 68 unions are partially affected. The worst-hit upazilas are Shyamnagar and Ashashuni. A large number of people are still marooned in the worst affected Gabura, Padmapukur, Burigoalini, and Munshiganj unions in Shyamnagar upazila and Protapnagar and Assasuni Sadar unions in Ashashuni upazilas. According to the District Relief Office (DRO), a total of 5,95,122 people were affected by the storm while 1,05,767 houses were damaged fully and 26,055 houses partially. Besides, crops on 828 hectares of land were damaged fully and 74 hectares partially, 142 educational institutes were damaged fully and 282 partially. 180 kms of roads were damaged fully and 99.75 kms partially, 41 bridges and culverts and 31 kms of embankments were fully damaged and 117 km damaged partially. According to the statistics, Aila also destroyed shrimp farms on 26,028 hectares of land. The cyclone that killed 59 people in the coastal belt forced 1,09,537 people to take shelter in 160 shelter centers. The cyclone-hit people have been facing severe water crisis as saline water entered the reservoirs of sweet water,, said Gabura union parishad chairman Shafiul Azam Lenin. As the people are compelled to drink this contaminated water, various water borne disease are breaking out in the area, he added. Soon after the attack of Aila, the government started relief operation with distribution of rice in the affected areas. Peoples' sufferings are still there as they can not cook food for lack of high lands and fuel, local people said. Relief distribution is going in full swing in the affected areas as Army, Navy, Coast Guards and BDR in cooperation with the civil administration are jointly conducting its operation in the cyclone hit Shymnagar and Assasuni upazilas of the district. Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Satkhira Md Abdus Samad told BSS that a total of 41 medical teams are working in the affected areas, providing round-the-clock medical service with sufficient medicines to the distressed people. "We are taking emergency measures to combat spread of diarrhea and other water borne diseases", he added. Samad also said that the government id doing its best to mitigate the sufferings of the cyclone-affected people of Shyamnagar and Assassuni upazilas. "Necessary steps would be taken to repair the embankments, damaged by the cyclone," he said. The Deputy Commissioner also said that the local people in several affected areas have already started repairing damaged embankment on their own while and some of them have started returning home. A total of 1207 tonnes of rice, Taka 11,67,000, 550 pieces of sarees, 4.58 tonnes of Chira, 2.04 tonnes of molasses, 12,000 candles, 12,000 orsalaine and 12,000 match boxes were already distributed among the affected peoples so far. Besides, huge amount of drinking water was taken to the affected areas from Satkhira town. Besides the government, the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) are also distributing relief materials in the affected areas. Earlier, Minister for Food, Relief and Disaster Management Dr Abdur Razzak, Minister for Health and Family Dr AFM Ruhul Haque, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian, Khulna City, Talukdar Abdul Khalek and Army Chief General Moeen-U-Ahmed visited the affected areas and distributed relief materials among the storm victims.

Hungry, they wait for help

An elderly woman waiting in line for relief materials at Sripur
of Pratapnagar in Assasuni upazila of Satkhira yesterday tries
to have a better look at how long the queue is...
"My time has come, perhaps I will die this time round.” Sixty-five-year-old Santosh Mondol let out a sigh as he spoke the words. In the tiny makeshift shack he has managed to put up on the damaged embankment in Jhapa village, his future didn't look good. Like other Aila affected people in the village, Santosh too has lost his house and entire life's belongings. With the few kilograms of rice he could salvage, a few utensils and his cattle, he has followed the other survivors to shelter on the embankment -- the only place not submerged under water. Staring blankly at the Kholpetua river-- once the lifeline of the village -- and now the reason behind their fate, Santosh doesn't know if he can start all over again. The old man is not alone in his miseries. But that is no consolation for him, or any other survivor of Cyclone Aila. They barely have anything to eat and almost nothing to look forward to. A small village with around 2,675 people, Jhapa under Shyamnagar upazila, stands on the banks of river Kholpetua. The villagers are poor people who earned a living working as labourers at the shrimp enclosures in the area. The entire village is now under waist deep water, survivors from Jhapa, as well as villages as far as Pakhimara to Choddoroshi, have sought shelter on the 12 km long embankment stretch. Some help has arrived for the villagers in the form of food but the lack of safe drinking water in this heat, and sanitation facilities have led to worse crises. On top of this, robbers come in boats at night to snatch away their few remaining belongings. “We work the whole day, trying to keep up this makeshift shacks and get food and water for our families. Then at night we cannot sleep in fear of robbers, what will become of us?" asked Kalipada Mondol. Robbers have already looted on Chittaranjan Mridha's house on Saturday night and taken away his last possessions. They also looted the houses of Bikash Chandra Mridha in Jhapa village and Nurul Islam in Patakhali a day ago. Anju Rani Mridha, 16, said she hasn't slept in days from fear of the robbers. “The fear sets in as soon as the sun goes down,” the young girl said in quiet voice. "Where can we go?" The men have taken to guarding the embankment in turns at night. “We would be grateful if the law enforcing agencies patrol the river at night,” they said. Swapna Rani Mondol has little time to worry as she has young ones to feed. She showed this correspondent the rotten rice she was trying to dry on the embankment for her children. "The rotten rice stinks. Tell me brother, can anyone eat this rotten lot? And with just salt to go with it? " she asked. She forced her younger child to eat this rice, though he refused because of the stench, and he ended up with severe diarrhoea. The survivors say they urgently need drinking water and security. Kishore Raptan, an advocate with the Khulna Bar, said the tubewells in the cyclone shelter are not working and the villagers are forced to drink dirty water. Only one of the tubewells in the villages works but it pumps out salty water as the village is still partially under salty water. The water levels rise with the high tide and enter the villages through the five broken points in the embankment. Prashanta Kumar, head master of Uttar Jhapa Registered Primary school, said many people took shelter at the school and cyclone shelter as they fear the damaged embankment might collapse if another storm lashes. Many people have left the area for the same, he said. The embankment was badly damaged at five separate points during the cyclone and now is overcrowded with hundreds of people. Jhapa Union Parishad Member Swapan Kumar Gain said every one of the inhabitants of this union was affected by the cyclone. He said the helpless villagers were trying to repair the smaller cracks on the embankment but repairing the larger ones was beyond them. He said the helpless survivors have no option but to wait for the government to come to their rescue. They just hope it will come before more parts of the embankment give away.

31 May 2009

Gen Moeen visit cyclone-hit areas

Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed distributing relief
materials among cyclone Aila victims at Kalapara Upazila
under Satkhira district on Saturday. Banglar Chokh


State Minister for Labour and Employment Ministry Begum Monnujan Sufian, Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Mayor Talukdar Abdul Khalek and Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday visited different cyclone-hit areas in Shymnagar upazila and distributed relief materials. The affected people of Munshiganj, Gabura and Padmapukur unions under the upazila of the district received the relief goods them.The state minister while visiting worst-affected Gabura in Shymnagar upazila said the government has taken necessary measures to distribute sufficient relief materials among the cyclone- affected people so that everybody can get relief easily. She asked the local administrations to distribute relief materials in the remote affected areas as early as possible and if needed they can take help of the Army, the BDR or Coast guards, she added. She warned that actions would be taken against those who misappropriate relief materials. The KCC mayor accompanied the state minister. The Army Chief visited cyclone-affected Padpamapukur union and distributed relief among the people at Patakhali village under Shymnagar upazila. General Moeen told the newsmen that the Bangladesh Army distributed relief materials among the storm-hit people besides the government relief works in Satkhira. The Army also took part in rescue operation in the coastal areas and still are continuing it besides helping the government relief activities. The government will take necessary measures to save the properties of the coastal people through repairing the damaged embankment, he added. Two more bodies were recovered from the affected areas today. Including this two, the death toll raises to 59 in Satkhira district, according to DRRO office sources.

Relief efforts in south still inadequate

People in the south are still passing their days without food and drinking water as relief materials are either inadequate or not reaching all the people affected in the inundation caused by cyclone Aila. Bangladesh’s south were submerged with tidal surges whipped up as high as 13 feet by cyclone Aila which ripped through India on May 25. Some people in the south, however, alleged although the government and non-governmental agencies started reaching them relief materials, local government representatives, involved in the distribution in many cases, had indulged in irregularities. The government on Saturday confirmed the death of 12 more people, taking the official death toll to 167 from the tidal surge and storm associated with the cyclone. The offices of civil surgeons in the affected districts said more people had contracted diarrhoea, but no death was reported. People in three Koyra villages in Khulna said they were yet to get any relief goods after the cyclone, reports the correspondent in the district. ‘I did not receive any relief in four days. I am now in the upazila headquarters looking for some food and water,’ said Ayron Bibi, 43, a resident of a Koyra village, on Saturday. The Koyra upazila nirbahi officer, MM Arif Pasha, said they had supplied adequate relief through union councils. He said 1,050 tonnes of rice and 15 tonnes of flattened rice had been distributed till Saturday. Abdul Majid Sardar of village No 9 Sora of Gabura union in Shyamnagar said relief materials were yet to reach his village and Md Omar Faruk of Dumuria at Shyamnagar said they got only 400g of rice a day. Both of them accused local government representatives of indulging in nepotism in relief distribution. The Gabura union council chairman, Shafiul Azam Lenin, claimed there had been no nepotism in relief distribution in his union. He said 5kg of rice were given away to every affected family. Mongla upazila parishad vice-chairman Md Nur Alam said there only 60 tonnes of rice and Tk 2.1 lakh in cash were allocated for 1,07,980 affected people of 27,140 families and the amount was meagre. Reports from Patuakhali said diarrhoea situation in seven upazilas of the district had deteriorated. Seventy-four more patients were admitted to upazila health complexes, sources in the hospitals said. Attendants of the patients alleged the hospital employees were forcing them to buy intravenous saline from the market although saline was meant to be given free. The civil surgeon, Humayun Kabir, denied any shortage of intravenous saline and said he had not received any such complaints. The chief of army staff, General Moeen U Ahmed, meanwhile, visited Kalapara at noon and distributed relief materials among a few people at Nachnapara in the municipal area.