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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Compiled by SDNP

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BNP cadres, police blamed for obstructing relief activities

Awami Swechchhasebok League yesterday accused the BNP cadres and police of creating obstruction in carrying out relief activities in flood-affected areas.

It said the BNP activists, in collaboration with police, attacked a Swechchhasebok relief team at Dohar upazila in Dhaka District on August 8 when they were going to distribute relief materials among the flood victims.

"On August 2, the BNP activists also looted our relief materials at Dohar," said AFM Bahauddin Nasim, president of Awami Swechchhasebok League at a press conference at its office.

He said ministers and leaders of the ruling party are distributing relief among the people who have cards with photos of late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and Tareque Rahman.

As a result, most of the flood-hit people are being deprived of relief materials as the cards are issued only to the supporters and activists of the ruling party, he added.

"The government relief materials are being distributed among the BNP activists," said Ponkoj Debnath, general secretary of Swechch-hasebok League.

M A Mannan, Nirmal Guha, M Razzaq, Jahangir Ahmed, Golam Sarowar Mamun, Shamim Shahrier and Manju Nasrin were present at the press conference.

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Bangladesh-Vietnam tie excellent: Morshed

The Bangladesh Observer

Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan said  in Dhaka on Sunday that Bangladesh and Vietnam could cooperate with each other in all sectors including social, economic and trade, agriculture and culture, as the are at similar stages of development.

He said this while a seven-member parliamentary delegation of Vietnam called on Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan at his office here. Vice Chairman of the Council of Nationalities Ms Bui Thi Binh, MP, led the delegation.

Welcoming the Vietnamese parliamentary delegation to Bangladesh Morshed Khan said the existing bilateral relation between Bangladesh and Vietnam is excellent.

The Foreign Minister said both the countries especially business communities are working together to identify new areas of cooperation. There are immense scopes to enhance bilateral trade and investment for mutual benefit of the people of both the countries, he added.

In this regard, he mentioned that an agreement was signed to avoid double taxation for further facilitating trade and investment between the two countries.

Morshed Khan said Bangladesh is a peace-loving country. He briefed them on Bangladesh’s peace-keeping missions abroad and its position on Iraq and Palestine.

The Vietnamese delegation was impressed on bilateral relation that exists between the two countries. Referring to current devastating floods in Bangladesh, the delegation leader said that natural calamities are almost similar between the two countries.

She expressed sympathy to the flood victims. The delegation leader handed over a cheque for 2,000 US dollar on behalf of the delegation from their allowances for the flood victims.

The delegation expressed the sentiment that their experience of this visit would help implement policy matters of their country. They hoped that bilateral relations would be further deepened in the days ahead.

The Foreign Minister expressed gratitude to the delegation for their donation for the flood victims. He hoped that such visit would help develop better understanding among the people of the two countries.

The delegation included Yang Danh, MP, Ly A Po, MP, Mrs Vuong Thi Thao, MP, among others.

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Millions face abject misery in flood affected areas

The Bangladesh Observer

At least 21 people died in drowning and outbreaks of diarrhoea and pneumonia in the flood aftermath across the country in the last 24 hours, rising the total death toll to 715, reports UNB.

According to the Health Directorate and Disaster Management Department, nine people drowned in floodwater while six each died of diarrhoea and pneumonia during the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, as millions of people still remained in abject misery in the flood-affected areas.     

As post-flood hazards took a serious turn, the number of people affected with various diseases like diarrhoea, dengue, pneumonia and skin ailments continued to rise with every passing day. A total of 119,078 people have been attacked with diarrhoea only by official count since the flood onset began last month, deluging about two-thirds of the country.

According to officials at the Health Directorate, a total of 8,479 people fell ill with diarrhoea across the country in the 24 hours. The highest number of 861 people contacted the disease during the period in Sylhet, twice hit by flooding this year. However, the numbers of people affected with pneumonia, dysentery, jaundice, skin-diseases and eye-inflammation are also rising alarmingly in the flood-hit areas, according to reports reaching UNB newsroom.

Large numbers of flood victims, especially those in far-flung rural areas across the country, were still passing their days with little assistance--many of them suffering from diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases like pneumonia and skin ailments for a lack of proper medical service.

Moreover, supplies of ORS saline, medicines, relief materials and clean drinking water in the flood-ravaged areas were reported inadequate against huge demand, according to UNB district correspondents. The Health Directorate control room also said 2,445 people were affected with dysentery in the last 24 hours while 1,056 with pneumonia, 1,819 with skin-diseases, 303 with eye-inflammation and 42 jaundice. Fifty-two people were affected with dreaded dengue fever, mainly in the capital city, during the period.

It also said nine people died in drowning, six of pneumonia and another six of diarrhoea during the period. But unofficial sources said the numbers of death and the people attacked with diarrhoea would be much higher. Diarrhoea appeared with its worst form in the capital city’s flood-affected areas where over 680 people were afflicted with the disease in last 24 hours.

The city's major hospitals are now swamped with patients of diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases. According to official count, 881 were affected with diarrhoea in Sylhet while 850 in Brahmanbaria, 683 in Narsingdi, 442 in Comilla, 375 in Kurigram, 352 in Chandpur, 324 in Netrakona and 287 in Sirajganj districts during the period.

With major rivers receding further, the flood situation allover the country is improving and likely to continue to improve over the next 48 hours, said a bulletin of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC).

It, however, said the rivers marked a slight rise at some points in the last 24 hours following rain. The Brahmaputra-Jamuna recorded further fall at almost all points, the Ganges-Padma also registered fall at all points but Bhagyakul and the rivers in the Meghna basin receded further while in the Southeastern Hill basin registered fall at almost all points.

Out of 86 monitoring stations, 12 points registered rise, 54 recorded fall and four remained unchanged. Among them, rivers at 8 points were flowing above their respective danger levels this morning, according to the FFWC bulletin.

UNB Rajbari correspondent said diarrhoea and other waterborne disease broke out in an alarming proportion in the district, leaving 147 people ill with dysentery, 2 with pneumonia and 46 with eye-inflammation during the last 24 hours.

Civil Surgeon Office sources said 19 medical teams continued to work round the clock to combat the eruption of diseases.

UNB Munsiganj correspondent adds: The flood situation further improved today, but the number of diarrhoea- affected people continued to increase steadily in the district.

Besides, the supply of water-purification tablets and oral saline is also insufficient against the demand, worsening the suffering of children in particular, sources said.

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PM not seeing opposition in relief activities

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday said the opposition political party that talked tall during election was not seen anywhere around at time of people's plight caused by devastating floods.

The prime minister made the observation when she went on a relief mission in the flood-affected areas of Kamrangir Char and Motijheel.

She urged the people to face the situation with patience and courage.

The prime minister said she came to see for herself the damage done by the floods and the suffering of the people. "The alliance government and the leaders and workers of BNP are working all over the country to mitigate the sufferings of the flood victims," she said.

She said the government will start building and repairing the damaged roads, bridges and culverts as soon as the floodwaters recede.

The prime minister also thanked all those who have come forward in aid of the flood-affected people.

On her way to Kamrangir Char, the prime minister distributed cooked food among the flood affected people at Kanaktuli School, Bhagalpur Primary School and Kamrangir Char Power Station premises.

Communications Minister Nazmul Huda, Dhaka City Mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka, Prime Minister's Political Secretary Harris Chowdhury, Musaddek Ali MP, Nasir Uddin Ahmed Pintu MP and City BNP Secretary Abdus Salam were present among others.

From Kamrangir Char, the prime minister went to different flood centres in Shahjahanpur and Khilgaon areas. She visited Mirza Abbas Women's Degree College, Khilgaon Model College, Ali Ahmed School and College, Razarbagh Abhoy Binodon School, Mugda Community Centre, Maniknagar Govt. Primary School and Dhalpar and distributed relief among the flood refugees.

Housing and Public Works Minister Mirza Abbas was present during the relief operation.

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