Cyclone Mahasen snatches Eid celebration away from coastal residentsZakir Hossain, Patuakhali
Mahasen, a devastating cyclone that had hit the coast on May 15 this year, will maintain its ruinous trail through the celebration of Eid only to lessen the festivity of the inhabitants along the seashore of Bangladesh.
Some are still in trauma while many others are trying hard to recover losses, local people and officials said.
Because of subsequent tidal forces and broken embankments, the farmers will feel the pinch much.
Most of the victims are compelled to live a sub-human life as the local administration returned an allocated fund of Tk 13 crore to the government exchequer. The money could not be spent as district and upazila officials alleged that they got only 3 weeks to spend the fund.
Nizam Hawlader, a Mahasen-hit victim and also a day labourer of Omedpur village under Kalapara upazila said, ‘My house has fully been damaged by Mahasen and I couldn’t afford to rebuild it.’
He claimed that he did not receive any government aid to rebuild his house. ‘I am living in low hunt with my family of nine,’ he said.
As a hand-to-mouth man Nizam will not enjoy the Eid. ‘Often I have to live without food as I have four daughters and three sons’, he further said.
‘How I buy new cloths for my children to enjoy Eid as I am always busy to search work, money,’ Nizam said.
He said he does not find any difference between an Eid day and a normal day.
Saleha Begum, another Mahasen victim of the same village said she got only 20 kilograms of rice and Tk 3,000 since the calamity. He thinks such meager assistance will not add anything to the Eid celebration.
Feroja Begum has the similar story to share.
This woman from Alempur village said she could not rebuild her collapsed house because of lack of money.
‘How we will buy new cloth to celebrate Eid as I have no ability,’ she said.
This correspondent found gloomy faces in the neighbourhoods during his visit on Sunday.
To put salt on the wounds, Patuakhali district and upazila administration did fail to distribute allocated money among the victims. The district administration had chalked out a plan to rebuild 6,500 houses that were badly damaged in all eight upazilas in the district, out of a total 10,597 fully damaged houses.
The concerned ministry asked the district administration to complete rebuilding within June 30 but both district and upazila administration failed to expend the allocated money.
Shanti Ranjon Badiya, District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer (DRRO) said, ‘We sent a letter to the higher authority to reallocate the money to rebuild the damaged houses as soon as possible. But there was no development.’
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