Acute drinking water crisis exists in the locality, and people are passing their days in hunger while suffering from various skin diseases
Around 50,000 people are marooned in Pratapnagar, Sreeula, and Assasuni Sadar unions of Satkhira's Assasuni upazila despite 50 days having passed after Amphan hit and saline water broke through embankment in these areas.
Shahidul Islam and Shahjahan Habib both locals of Sreeula union and Chholema Bibi of Pratapnagar union said acute drinking water crisis exists in their locality, and they are passing their days in hunger while suffering from various skin diseases.
Sanitation facilities for women and girls are the worst and they have to wait until evening to use toilets.
Motorbike moving on bricks laid randomly on road that went under water after Amphan broke embankments in Assasuni upazila. Photo captured on July 10, 2020 | Dhaka Tribune
Pratapnagar Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Zakir Hossain said: "WDB has hired contractors and the embankment construction work has been ongoing. But the work is moving at a very slow pace. Initially 35,000 people of Pratapnagar and Sreeula were marooned when Amphan struck, now it is 25,000. If a durable embankment is not built soon these places would soon become uninhabitable."
Sreeula Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Abu Hena said thousands of trees and livestock in his region were damaged due to Amphan. "Fishes worth crores of taka were washed away. Fifty days have passed and we are suffering in saline water. In my union 27,000 people of 21 villages are marooned; there is no work, no food.
"Most of the people have been residing on the embankment. There is not enough place to dig graves. We are already witnessing water-borne disease among the people. Many are passing days in hunger," added Abu.
Assasuni Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mir Alif Reza, said: "Pratapnagar and Sreeula unions sustained the most damage. In Pratapnagar, embankment broke at 12 points including at Chakla, Shubhodrakati, Kurikahunia, Kola, Harishkhali, and Hijla, flooding these areas when Amphan hit. Locals constructed a ring embankment in few of these areas. Members of Bangladesh army are working to build embankment.”
He further said ring embankment construction is underway in different points of Sreeula and Pratapnagar unions, but the construction of main embankment was not possible due to high water pressure.
Water flooded the yard of a local prompting her to move through a bamboo culvert in Assasuni upazila. Photo captured on July 10, 2020 | Dhaka Tribune
"Water sources got contaminated when the embankment broke, leaving locals in a drinking water crisis. In some places we are witnessing sanitation system failure. We are already supplying relief and drinking water through volunteers. Army members are helping in this regard as well,” said UNO Mir.
Shudhangshu Kumar Sarkar, executive engineer of Satkhira Water Development Board (WDB) said a 30/40 feet canal has developed in the embankment areas of these three unions due to which the construction of main embankment has not been possible.
Saline water has been pouring in through the 1290 metre embankment in Kurikahunia, Harishkhali, Hazrakhali, Doyarghat, and Chakla areas. "We along with army members are trying in this regard, hopefully we will overcome the crisis soon," said Shudhangshu.