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Floods ravage north and south districts

More than half a million residents face displacement and food shortages

Tens of thousands have been stranded by flooding in Bangladesh (Photo by Abdul Khaleque) Tens of thousands have been stranded by flooding in Bangladesh (Photo by Abdul Khaleque)
  • ucanews.com reporters, Dhaka, Kurigram and Bogra
  • Bangladesh
  • September 28, 2012
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Catastrophic floods have ravaged communities in several districts leaving more than half a million people stranded, officials said today.

The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries have burst their banks in many places, due to unexpected heavy downpours over the past few days, said Chandranath Basak, director general of Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Ministry.

The subsequent flooding has seriously affected around 600,000 people in six districts in the north and south of the country, he said.

“District administrators have told us that around 112,221 families have been hit. Moreover, river erosion in Kurigram district in the north has destroyed the homes of 1,835 families,” Basak added.

Authorities say they have set up 50 temporary camps to offer shelter and food to flood victims, but are struggling to cope with the sheer number of people who have been affected.

Many flood victims said disaster relief has been slow in coming, while others are still waiting to receive aid.

“It’s been days since we fled our home which has been inundated. We have yet to get aid from the government or NGOs,” said Shariful Islam, 30, a farmer from Kurigram.

He said the flood not only destroyed his home and food stocks, but also destroyed his crops, the only source of food for his five-member family for the whole year.

Another flood victim, Tazul Mollah, from Bogra district has been stranded on the tin roof of his house with his family and cattle.

“We have survived on puffed rice and it’s almost finished. Neither we nor our cattle have any more food,” he said.

District officials say they are doing everything they can to tackle the disaster, adding that thankfully there have been no flood-related death so far.

“We are enlisting the help of flood victims and have food and money allocated by the Disaster Management Ministry. Our boats are out looking for stranded people in the area,” said Kurigram deputy commissioner Habibur Rahman.

Azhar Ali, a Union Council chairman in Konibari, in Bogra district said people living by rivers are usually prepared for flooding but this time they were taken by surprise.

“People were caught unawares because they thought the rainy season was over. Moreover, the crops they had growing in the fields are gone, which is a serious loss for them.”

The monsoon season in Bangladesh usualy runs from June to mid-September.

Home to over 152 million people, Bangladesh is located on the world’s largest river delta system, with over 300 rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. It makes the country prone to frequent natural disasters such as floods, which kill hundreds every year.

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