The Majid Sheikh para was already vulnerable to erosion due to lack of prior embankment protection measures taken by the authorities, said locals
Sixteen homes were devoured by the mighty Padma after a sudden erosion struck the riverbanks in Daulatdia union under Goalanda upazila of Rajbari.
According to locals, an area stretching 150 meters sank to the bottom of the river in the Majid Sheikh para area of the union in under 10 minutes on Tuesday morning.
Now hundreds of families in two villages of the union are living in fear that at any moment their homesteads along with the local mosques, madrasas, and parts of the launch terminal could collapse.
Locals said that Majid Sheikh para was already vulnerable to erosion due to the lack of prior embankment protection measures taken by the authorities.
As a result, hundreds more establishments along the Padma riverbanks are now under threat, prompting locals to demand immediate action to prevent further erosion.
Upon receiving the news, the local upazila nirbahi officer, deputy commissioner and officials of the water development board visited the spot.
Deputy Commissioner Dilshad Begum held out the assurance that measures to prevent further erosion would be taken as soon as possible.
“I have lost my home to the Padma river at least six times in my life,” said a woman from Majid Sheikh para of Daulatdia union.
“I had built a house in Majid Sheikh para after losing my last home. This too went to the riverbed today, that too in under 10 minutes! This time, I have no place to go,” she said helplessly.
Bilash Bepari, a local who also lost his home, said: “We lost our home today to the devastating river erosion. We now have no place to go.”
“Not even the government is doing anything for us,” he added.
He urged the local deputy commissioner and executive engineer of the Water Development Board to take immediate action to prevent further erosion.
Daulatdia Union Parishad Member Ashraful Islam said: “At this rate, river erosion will eat up all the homes in my union. If prevention measures aren’t taken immediately, all of Majid Sheikh para will soon disappear into the Padma riverbed.”
Goalanda Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Azizul Haque Mamun said: “The erosion first struck the launch terminal area in the morning and the next thing we knew, 16 houses in the vicinity sank into the Padma riverbed.”
Food assistance will be provided to the victims on an emergency basis and arrangements will be made to rebuild their houses later, he added.
Deputy Commissioner Dilshad Begum said: “We are making a list of all those who lost their homes today so that we can provide them with necessary assistance.”