Flood-hit people face acute food crisis

A family shifts from flood hit area to a safer place on a boat carrying cattle at Dhushmara, Rangpur on 13 July 2020.
A family shifts from flood hit area to a safer place on a boat carrying cattle at Dhushmara, Rangpur on 13 July 2020. Prothom Alo file photo

It has been a month since flood water entered Chilmari of northern district Kurigram.

Noor Selima and her four family members are staying in a makeshift house made of bamboo and plastic at Matikata area on Chilmari Road.

She gets frightened when rain falls and the water level rises. But now she is more afraid of food crisis.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo, she said they have not got any government relief yet, and downsized food intake by half. The food she is able to manage is being finished to feed her children, Selima lamented.

Not only in the northern region, flood affected people in other areas have also started facing food crisis.

The government has distributed 12,400 tonnes of rice, dry food and cash in the flood-hit areas.

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When asked about the mater, former adviser to the caretaker government MM Shawkat Ali said it is very urgent to send reliefs to the flood affected areas.

He also said the government has to ensure food available in the markets of flood-hit areas. If necessary private sectors have to be engaged to import foods, Shawkat Ali suggested.

The disaster management and relief ministry, UN and development partners have prepared a survey report on demand for the flood-hit people.

According to the report, the regular food supply for 80 per cent of the flood affected people is being hampered.

93 per cent of the people are facing problems in cooking food although they have food items. As a result a food crisis is being prevailing in the flood-hit areas.

The report says 62 per cent people need food assistance. Their dry food has run out. Malnutrition may increase if they are not supplied food on an emergency basis.

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Former research director at Bangladesh Institute for Development Studies M Asaduzzaman said the flood affected people will suffer malnutrition if they are not provided meals three times a day. Alongside rice, flood affected people have to be given dry food and cash, he suggested.

However, state minister for disaster management and relief Enamur Rahman said there is no crisis of food in the flood-hit areas.

“We have reached adequate reliefs to the flood affected people. We would send more if any specific areas need reliefs,” the state minister told Prothom Alo.

* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.