• Wednesday, Jul 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:15 pm

Cyclone Amphan: Khulna locals plead for help as river embankments collapse

  • Published at 09:25 pm May 30th, 2020
River embankment
Photo: Dhaka Tribune

People in Koyra upazila are suffering

Koyra upazila is one of the worst-hit upazilas in Khulna. There, Cyclone Amphan has smashed river embankments, washing away thousands of homes and vast tracts of croplands, and a large number of fish enclosures.

People in Koyra upazila are suffering.

A 40km portion of the river dam in Koyra upazila has collapsed at 14 different points in the upazila. Salt water has flooded the region, inundating multiple villages.

However, locals have taken it upon themselves to repair at least 10 collapsed points so far to save their livelihoods from further deterioration as authorities have not taken any visible action yet.

Practically starving dyke dwellers are working day and night to repair the remaining damaged embankments in Hajotkhali, Gabbunia, Gazipara and Ghatkhali in Uttar Bedkashi and Sadar unions of the upazila.

Locals are living under the open sky without enough food or safe drinking water. Not a single initiative has been taken to ease their suffering with relief assistance.

They face the threat of water borne diseases too, with the salt water still there in their villages.

Azizur Rahman, who is working on repairing the embankment, said he could not arrange for  a dry place to sleep at night. “Every day, I go to the house of some of my relatives, who live far away from here. I sleep on roads and eat my food there."

Rabeya Khatun, a resident of Koyra village of Sadar union, said villagers were being flooded twice in a day with the ebb and tide of the river. 

"When will the new embankment be built, when will we be able to live in peace in our own homes?" said Rabeya.

"We are living without food, nobody comes to help us with any aid," another villager Al Amin said. 

"We are working round the clock to repair the damaged embankment while the women are taking rice on loan and cooking food for us with salt water," added Al Amin.

According to the Water Development Board (WDB), at least 8km of the river protection dam collapsed in Koyra upazila, which inundated 5,000 hectares of cropland and washed away 5,000 fish enclosures.

People are volunteering to repair the damaged embankment to protect themselves from the flooding tidewaters, said SM Shafiqul Islam, Chairman of Koyra Upazila Parishad.  

Koyra Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shimul Saha said: “The army is currently stationed near the devastated embankment areas to assess the damaged embankment in order to build permanent dams to protect people from river floods."

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