Rugged trek to take relief to remote settlement

Making their way through the steep winding hilly paths of Dighinala, Khagrachhari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, 120 volunteers carried government relief to 500 families living in remote areas of the hill district. The little children of these families are thrilled to get something to eat during these difficult days of coronavirus.

This is Naraichhari, a settlement in Babuchhara union of Dighinala upazila. Naraichhari is 60 km away from Dighinala and there is no proper road leading to this area.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the people of 25 villages in the area were faced with an acute food shortage. They were hungry, near starvation. When he got to hear about their plight, the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) decided he had to do something about it. He assigned volunteers of Naraichhari to carry relief to these hapless people.

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Relief packets were prepared for 500 families and kept at the Dhanpata government primary school, 30 km from Dighinala sadar. On Saturday afternoon the upazila administration handed over the relief from the prime minister to the Babuchhara union parishad (UP) chairman. Each relief packet contained 30 kg of rice, 1 litre soybean oil, 2 kg potatoes and half a kg masur dal (lentils).

The volunteers carried the relief to the people, trekking through a rugged terrain. They have set a shining example.
UNO, Dighinala

At four in the early hours of Saturday, 120 volunteers set off for the Dhanpata government primary school. They reached the school at noon and an hour later headed out with the relief packets towards Naraichhari. They trekked through rivers, canals and rugged terrain and after 30 hours, at 9 in the night on Sunday, they finally reached remote Naraichhari, near the border of the Indian state Tripura.

One of the volunteers, Ananta Chakma (26), told Prothom Alo, “A few days ago I had approached the UNO through social media about the sufferings and hardships of the people in Naraichhari and the inhuman conditions in which they were living. The UNO then arranged for the prime minister’s relief. Then 120 of us took the relief to the people.”

Ananta Chakma said it was a tough trek. Sometimes they had to cross rivers, carrying the relief packets on bamboo rafts and they had to walk for long distances.

UP chairman of Babuchhara Santosh Jibon Chakma, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, Naraichhari had no communication with the upazila sadar. One could go there by boat in the rainy season. In the dry season, one had to walk through the thick wild undergrowth to reach there. There were around over 500 families hungry and suffering in 25 villages there.

Dighinala UNO, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, “The volunteers carried the relief to the people, trekking through a rugged terrain. They have set a shining example.”

This report has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir

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