'We are so happy to get a bag of relief!'

Women receive food assistance maintaining health guidelines at the C Sen hotel in Saint Martin's on Friday.
Prothom Alo

The people of Saint Martin’s island have been experiencing incessant rain since the crack of dawn on Friday.

But braving the downpour, a large number of helpless people gathered in front of the hotel C Sen to collect relief being distributed countrywide at the initiative of Prothom Alo Trust.

A total of 100 flood-affected families have received the gift packets—containing rice, potatoes, oil, onions and masks—on Friday at 8:30 am, maintaining health guidelines set by the government to check Covid-19 transmission.

After receiving the food items, Amena Begum, a resident of Deilpara in St. Martin’s, said, “I got a sack containing rice, oil, potatoes, onions and masks. At least Prothom Alo has bothered about us. We are so happy to get this relief!”

During the food distribution event, Shahjalal Sarkar, headmaster of St. Martin's BN Islamic School and College; Habibur Rahman Khan, member of St. Martin's Union Parished; Syed Alam, general secretary of St. Martin's Service Boat Owners' Association; local journalist Nur Mohammad, among others, were present.

A man is thrilled to get a bag of relief distributed by Prothom Alo Trust in front of C Sen Hotel in St. Martin's on Friday.
Prothom Alo

Hosen Banu, a 65-year-old widow of Majerpara, prayed for Prothom Alo after receiving the package. She said she will get to eat well for a few days with this relief.

Fisherman Nabi Hossain, a resident of Galachipa on the coral island, said the government has imposed a ban on fishing for 65 days on the sea. "They were supposed to provide us rice as relief. But we are yet to receive anything even after 23 days of the ban elapsing," he said.

"Meanwhile, our homestead has been washed away by tidal surges during Cyclone Yaas. Now we are struggling to manage two meals a day. In such hard times, Prothom Alo has extended their helping hand," the fisherman added.

Headmaster Shahjalal Sarkar said Prothom Alo is always first. For the first time in the history of the island, Mohammad Ismail--the only student from the school [St. Martin's BN Islamic School and College] attained GPA-5 in SSC examination this year--has been approved for Prothom Alo Trust scholarship. The trust has set another precedent by distributing food among the flood-affected families.