Floods wash away Eid joys

Kajal Miya along with his wife and son passes a busy day in renovating their house damaged by the flood. This photo was captured recently from the Chandpur village of Companiganj in Sylhet.Prothom Alo

Habibur Rahman, a sexagenarian farmer of Dakshin Kanthalbari village in Sylhet’s Companiganj upazila, had cultivated paddy in four acres of land this year.

But all of his croplands were washed away in the flash floods and torrential rain that took place in phases since 15 June. The disaster even did not spare his homestead.

Habibur lost all of his belongings in the floods that ravaged the entire Sylhet division and some other districts.

The joy of Eid-ul-Azha, in such a circumstance, could not touch his family. He was a solvent farmer and used to sacrifice animals during the Eid-ul-Azha. But the situation is quite different this time as he will not be able to sacrifice any animal now.

There are thousands of people like Habibur in flood-hit Sylhet who are not in a situation to join the festivity of Eid. Most of them had their houses damaged in the floods while their croplands washed away putting them in immense misery.

As the floodwater receded, they engaged them in a new struggle for returning to a normal life. The middle class, lower middle class, and lower income people of the areas will not be able to sacrifice animals this year, due to their poor condition.

Fakhrul Islam, a resident of Gucchagram in Companiganj, said none of the 140 families living in the village will be able to sacrifice any animal this year. All houses here had been under waist-deep water for several weeks while furniture and other belongings were washed away.

Companiganj, Gowainghat, and Jaintiapur upazilas in Sylhet have been ravaged by flood in three phases while other 10 upazilas witnessed flood in two phases.

As per the government data, some 40,041 houses were damaged in the flood while at least three million people were affected in the district. Around 40 per cent of areas are still lying under floodwater.

Haidar Rubel, a trader of Jangail village in Sadar upazila, said he had sacrificed a bull in the previous year. But the flood hit him hard this year and he has no financial capability for sacrificing an animal. Most of the villagers are in the same condition.

Companiganj upazila nirbahi officer Lusikanta Hajong told Prothom Alo that the upazila has been hit the hardest by the flood. Many people have lost their ability to sacrifice animals due to the flood.

However, initiatives have been taken to sacrifice animals in the flood-affected areas under the management of the upazila administration with support of different donors, he added.