Monday, September 06, 2010

For 50,000, Eid brings no joy

Aminur Rahman Rasel, Kamrul Hasan and Satkhira district correspondents
Fri, Sep 3rd, 2010 9:45 pm BdST

Dhaka, Sept 3 ( – Over 50,000 cyclone Aila victims of Shyamnagar Upazila in Satkhira have no joy in their minds over Eid-Ul-Fitr because they are passing days half-starved just as they did last year.

Many victims of cyclone Aila are fasting without eating adequate food.

Even after 15 months, Aila-hit people are living under open sky on the embankment. Their main livelihood was farming shrimps, but they lost all that in the devastating cyclone.

For most at Padmapukur and Gabura, two most affected unions in Shayamnagar, life has become a miserable existence as they have no job opportunities available.

Akhtar Banu is one of them. On a recent day she simply vented her anger at the way things are unfolding before her family.

Asked about how she going to prepare for the Eid, she told "We used to arrange many things before Iftar and Sehri before Aila, but now we cannot do that."

"We complete our Iftar and Sehri just with puffed rice and chickpeas. In addition, we cannot always take Sehri, let alone celebrate Eid. We have neither Eid nor joy."

Banu of Padmapukur union's Pakhimara village said, "We would have grown many things at our homesteads before Aila, but now we've to buy from market."

"Also, my husband cannot earn much due to lack of employment. We, a three-member family, often keep our stomach half full."

At least 190 people died from the Aila that caused huge damage at the southern coastal belts of Satkhira's Shayamnagar and Khulna's Koira Upazila.

Over 50,000 people of the unions won't be able to celebrate Eid for the second year. There is no enthusiasm about the upcoming Eid among them. Many have no ability to buy new things for their family members.

Monowar Sheikh Monu of Gabura union's Chakbara village said, "We cannot eat to our heart's content, let alone celebrate Eid."

"Where can we get money to celebrate Eid when we have no income?"

Khodeza Khatun, who lives on the embankment near Gabura's Dumuria ghat, said, "I have no ability to buy new clothes for my children, but it would be better if we could only have sugar and vermicelli."

Aila-affected locals alleged that embankments have not been repaired even after 15 months of the cyclone.

Padmapukur union chairman Amazadul Islam told Six tons of rice have been allocated for the Aila victims ahead of Eid on the government's behalf."

In addition, Aila victims didn't receive any significant amount of aid from non-government or private initiative.

Gabura union chairman Shafiul Azam Lenin told "A total of 52 tons of rice have been allocated for my union ahead of Eid."

However, those who live in the unions said that such assistance from the government is 'not adequate'.

On July 23, prime minister Sheikh Hasina opened a programme to distribute housing allowances among the Aila-affected people in Satkhira. Under the programme, every family will get Tk 20,000.

However, those allowances are yet to be distributed.

Satkhira deputy commissioner Abdus Samad told that all the allowance money has been sent to bank accounts of the affected, but they are yet to be permitted to withdraw it.

However, local MP HM Golam Reza petitioned the High Court, alleging that the list of names for distributing allowance was not right and so it took more time to check out the list, he said.

Necessary action will be taken after Eid so that the affected may withdraw their money, he said.

To see the original news, please click: