Flash floods, caused by torrential rain and landslides have taken out all the joy of Eid-ul-Azha from thousands of families in flood-affected districts.
A resident of Dimla upazila of Nilphamari, where 41,535 families have been affected, Ramzan Ali told the Dhaka Tribune: “I managed to sacrifice an animal in the last Eid-ul-Azha, but could not do so this year. Floods have inundated my home and my Aman paddy crops in 4-bigha farmland. I am currently penniless and do not have any food left.”
Abu Taher, a labourer living in the same upazila, is facing a similar conundrum. Taher said, he had sacrificed an animal in the last Eid, by sharing the cost with 6 others. This year however, he can hardly manage his day-to-day household expenses.
The flood has forced Rehana Begum to take refuge on the Columbia embankment. For the penniless woman, survival has greater significance than the Eid celebrations. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, she said: “The government has given me 10 kilograms of rice as aid, and nothing else. Some people are getting aid multiples times, and some are not getting any aid at all.”
The flood waters have receded there, but the damage to the people’s livelihood is done.
Many children in Nilphamari could not even eat a piece of meat on Eid day. Families have lost their entire livelihoods, including fish enclosures, homes, and crops, to the flash floods.
The people living on the banks of the Teesta River were also in a perilous situation. They have lost their homes and their crops.
Kurigram is not faring any better than the rest of the flood hit regions of Bangladesh. Erosion caused by strong currents of the Dharla River had destroyed the homes of more than 70 families of sadar upazila, nearly 3 weeks ago. Some have taken refuge on the nearest embankment, and others are living with their relatives.
The sudden erosion has forced the people to flee with only the clothes on their backs. The currents took their homes, food grains and poultry. The victims have been left penniless overnight.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, a resident of the Dakkhin Kadamtala village named Rafial said: “We do not have the money for 3 square meals a day, how are we going to sacrifice an animal? None of the villagers have the money to sacrifice an animal, and none of us are having meat on Eid day.”
70-year-old Abdul Khaleq and his wife Asma Begum used to live in Mahutpara area of Dinajpur sadar upazila. Floods recently destroyed an embankment there. The resulting flash flood washed away most homes in Mahutpara. The elderly couple barely survived the flood, but lost their home and all their belongings.
There was no joy for them on the Eid day. The couple is no longer self-dependent, and has been surviving on government aid. To make matters worse, Khaleq took loans from several non-government organisations, and now he has to pay them back.
Similar is the story of Ahsan Ali, another 70-year old man living in Bijora union of Dinajpur. Floods have washed away his crops and his cattle. Agriculture was the only means of income for the elderly man, and he has to look after his 2 young sons. Ahsan Ali broke into tears while discussing his misfortune.
Local government officials and public representatives say, aid consisting of rice, financial support and dry food have been distributed to the people of flood affected regions. They added that further aid will be provided to the flood victims for rehabilitation, as soon as the government dispatches it.