Acute shortage of food

One and a half years old Runa Akter would eat ‘Lei’ (a baby food prepared from flour) alongside breast milk. The child has not gotten the food for three days. Runa is staying at a temporary shelter centre in Sylhet Sadar upazila’s Badaghat Model School and College. The baby is crying non-stop for want of food.

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Not only Runa, but other children in shelter centers are also going through the same ordeal as the foods provided in the shelter centres are for adults.

Selim Ahmed, a resident of Shimultala village, has taken shelter at Telikhal High School building in Companiganj upazila of Sylhet. He said a total of 400 people have taken shelter here four days ago. They have got puffed rice, flattened rice and molasses just once. They are suffering from shortages of food and drinking water.

A total of 400 people are living cheek and jowl in 12 rooms. Many of them have become ill due to lack of food and sleep.

The district administration at a press release said a total of 230,632 people have taken shelter in 497 shelter centres. Also, 31,000 cattle have taken shelter in those centres.

Sylhet divisional commissioner Mohammad Mosharraf told Prothom Alo the administration has grappled with the situation somewhat as mobile network and other communication were snapped.

Deputy commissioner Mojibur Rahman told Prothom Alo that relief activities are being carried out in flood-affected areas and shelter centres. The crisis of water transport is hindering the relief activities. The number of shelter centres is being increased, he added.

Gourinagar is a village by the Sylhet-Companiganj highway. The village has gone underwater but the highway near it has not. A person named Md Shahjahan, along with his family members has taken shelter on a truck on the highway. They lived on only dry food for the last three days and did not get any relief.

Freedom fighter Joynal Abedin, 72, of Sunamganj’s Mohammadpur, has said many people have opened their three and four storey buildings for the flood victims. Those who can are also feeding the sheltered people. The situation would deteriorate if flood water does not recede soon as the storage of food is depleting.

Sylhet divisional commissioner Mohammad Mosharraf told Prothom Alo the administration has grappled with the situation somewhat as mobile network and other communication were snapped.

Such an abrupt deterioration of the situation was unimaginable. People could not forecast anything. People are spending sleepless nights as the shelter centres are crammed with people
Salauddin Mahbub, a resident of Sunamganj

He, however, said as the communication network is slowly improving and relief goods are being sent to affected areas.

The crisis of food and drinking water would decrease soon, he added.

The plight of stranded people

There is no dry place left in Sunamganj. Although the water receded, the city is still underwater. Shops, offices and courts, all are submerged. There is no means of communication without boats. Thousands of people have taken shelter at schools, colleges, masjids, offices and multi-storied buildings. 20-30 people have taken shelter in some houses.

Salauddin Mahbub, a house owner at Sunamganj’s Mohammadpur area, said, “Many people have taken shelter. Such an abrupt deterioration of the situation was unimaginable. People could not forecast anything. People are spending sleepless nights as the shelter centres are crammed with people. Also, there is an acute shortage of food and drinking water.”

Anwarul Islam, a resident of Sylhet’s Companiganj upzila, said he has been suffering from acute fever for the last four days but could not take any treatment since the hospitals are submerged and dispensaries are shut.

Sylhet’s divisional commissioner Mohammad Mosharraf told Prothom Alo that members of the Bangladesh Army and Navy are conducting rescue works.

The army members have evacuated at least two thousand stranded people since Saturday.

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