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Thursday, July 29, 2004

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Flood improving in Madaripur, Rajbari
From Our Correspondent

The Bangladesh Observer

MADARIPUR, July 28:–The flood  situation in four upazilas of Madaripur district is improving slowly with the recession of flood water in the river Arial Khan. The river was flowing 71 cm above the danger level at Madaripur point on July 27.

According to official statistics, 6,01,296 people belonging to 126193 families in four upazilas have been affected by the current flood water.

The classes of 650 primary schools in the district have been suspended as flood water has inundated the schools. A total of 18 persons died in four upazilas of the district in last few days.

Rajbari

Our Rajbari Correspondent adds: The flood situation in three upazilas of the district is likely to improve but water remained stagnant in the low-lying areas.

The Padma was flowing 111 centimeters above danger mark at Goalondo point. Nine children in four upazilas of the district were drowned and 3 died of pneumonia disease till yesterday. The death toll rose to 9.

Of the affected upazilas the worst affected one is Goalondo, where 48 thousand families and 2 lakhs of people were affected. A total of 18,075 houses was damaged. Many livestock perished while 135 kilometre long road and 77 primary schools have been damaged in three upazilas.

Scarcity of firewood and drinking water in flood-hit areas is going on Diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases broke out in some village of the district.

 Drinking water, fuel crisis severe
Alarming price hike in flood-hit areas

The Bangladesh Observer, From Our Correspondent

MOULVIBAZAR, July 28:—Prices of essential commodities and vegetables throughout Sylhet Division have gone up abnormally, making life of the flood-hit people miserable.

In different severe flood-hit ar­eas of the division, people cannot buy daily necessaries and vegeta­bles as rural hats and bazar till Monday remained under 5 to 6 feet deep flood water. Commodities and vegetables in the meantime have been dam­aged.

The short-supply of commodi­ties and vegetables and fish to the village markets and communica­tion disruption between the local retail markets and the whole-sale markets caused price-hike of dif­ferent items in the division.

In the absence of any market mechanism, the dishonest retail-traders in all four districts under the division have been demanding abnormal higher prices of the commodities from the helpless buyers.

While visiting some of the local rural markets and taking informa­tion about price-hike I found that the traders are demanding very high prices from the buyers on the plea that they were not  getting adequate supply from the whole-sellers due to flood.

 Stored goods damaged

Almost all vegetables cultivated throughout Sylhet division and es­sential commodities stored in rural markets have been damaged badly and this is why prices of essential have gone up in the division.

The fixed and lower income groups of people including labourers and small and poor farmers throughout Sylhet region are the worst sufferers.

 Food crisis

The government relief-material are being distributed and severe food crisis is prevailing in Azmiriganj and Burichong upazi­las.

Meanwhile the shortage of drinking water is prevailing here. This crisis complies the flood-hit people to drink flood-water which has been causing outbreak of wa­ter-borne diseases. Moreover in most of the flood-affected areas of Azmiriganj and Baniachong up­azilas, no water-purifying tablet is available. Meanwhile, searcity of fire-woods and the other means of cooking further worsened the sit­uation in these two upazilas.

 Drinking water fuel crisis

In this direction in Moulvibazar district, such food and drinking water crisis at least 20 unions in Kauadighi, Hakaluki and Haailhaor and low-lying areas under Borolekha, Kulaura, Rajnagar and Moulvibazar Sadar upazilas during the last several days is also prevail­ing, compelling one lakh people to pass their days with half-starved and even fasting in many cases.

Want of relief materials ade­quately, short-supply of daily-es­sentials and vegetables, damage of food-grains stored in homesteads in affected areas and communica­tion disruption, lack of water-pu­rifying tablets, stoppage of opera­tion of tubewells etc have caused the crisis of food and drinking wa­ter here.

Meanwhile, 5 lakh people till Tuesday in these two districts are remained marooned while some 10 lakh people in six upazilas of Moulvibazar district and 10 lakh people in 7 out of 8 upazilas of Hobiganj district have been af­fected by the flood.

 Natore

Our Natore Correspondent adds: The unscrupulous traders have increased  the prices of es­sential commodities abnormally in the district on the plea of flood and made the life of people miser­able.

Two upazilas of the district have been affected by the flood water. A huge quantity of crops and hundreds of houses have been damaged. Meanwhile the dishonest traders have been demanding ab­normally high prices of the com­modities from the innocent buy­ers.

When talked with some local traders they showed made a plea that they were not getting ade­quate supply from the whole sell­ers.

The prices of the kitchen mar­ket items including the vegetables have gone up by two times within a couple of day. Brinjal used to sell at Tk 8 per kg now sells at Tk 16 per kg. Similarly the price of per kg of potato was Tk 7 but at present it is being sold at Tk 12 per kg, korala at Tk 20 per kg as against Tk 10 last week, potol at Tk 12 as against Tk 6 and green chilli at Tk 32 as against Tk 16  last week.

Fish market is out of the reach of the common people as the supply of fish is inadequate. Besides, the price of per dozen of eggs was Tk 36 one week ago but now is Tk 48. Onion sells at Tk 20 per kg, garlic at Tk 40 per kg, iodized salt per packet of one kg at Tk 13, soy­abean oil at Tk 56 per litre, sugar at Tk 34 per kg and ginger at Tk 60 per kg.

 Mymensingh

Our Mymensingh Correspon-dent adds: The miseries of the flood affected people of the district is compounded by soaring prices of the essential commodities. Atta now sells at Tk 18 a kg and prices of rice of different varieties have risen from Tk two to three per kg.

Course rice is selling at Tk 15 per kg as against Tk 13 per kg, medium at Tk 17 to 18 per kg against Tk 14 per kg, paijam, miniket and nazir­shail and BR-38 at the rate of Tk 20 per kg against the price of Tk 17 to Tk 18 per kg.

The prices of all kinds of veg­etables have registered abnormal rise in the local markets. Karola (bitter gourd) is being sold at Tk 20 per kg as against Tk 12, potol at Tk 20 per kg, one kilo­gram of chichinga (snake goard) Tk 16 as one kilogram of jhinga at Tk 20 against the price of Tk eight per kg, shasha (cucumber) Tk 15 per kg, Potal at Tk 14 per kg as against Tk 10 a kg, Dherosh (ladies finger) at Tk 14 per kg,  barbati (cow pea) at Tk 20 per kg. Bringaj or egg plant at Tk 22 to Tk 25 per kg, green chill at Tk 40 to Tk 45 per kg, papaya Tk 12 per kg.

Green vegetables have become dearth in the markets of the dis­trict town. Matured jute leaves are found in the markets but sold at high price. The prices of bulb like vegeta­bles like onion and garlic also are high. Onion sells at Tk 18 per kg, garlic at Tk 48, ginger Tk 80 per kg.

Four pieces of eggs were selling at Tk 10 before the flood are now selling at Tk 18. Pulse and gram are being sold at higher price. Mashur pulse sells at Tk 44 per kg as against Tk 38 per kg and mug at Tk 45 as against Tk 40 per kg.

A litre of mustard oil is being sold at Tk 64 as against the price of Tk 56 a litre and soyabean at Tk 56. The prices of mutton and beef is high in the markets. Mutton is selling between Tk 180 and Tk 200 and beef at Tk 130 to Tk 140.

The prices of chicken have also gone up. A local variety of chicken weighing one kg is being sold be­tween Tk 90 to Tk 100 and a broiler chicken weighing one kg is being sold at Tk 80 to Tk 85 per kg.

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Make concerted efforts to tackle post-flood situation
Experts urge govt at seminar



The government will have to make concerted efforts to tackle the post-flood situation, said the experts at a seminar yesterday.

The current floods might be prolonged if the sea level remains high, they added.

The seminar on 'Flood-2004' was organised by the Centre for Water, Environment and Energy (CWEE), a non-governmental organisation, at the National Press Club.

WASA Managing Director ANH Akhtar Hossain said this year's flood has surpassed all previous records in some districts including Sylhet.

He said the floods might cause more damage if the sea level remains high and more rain takes place.

IUCN Country Representative Dr Ainun Nishat said the flood situation might be worsened as there are chances of rain.

He said damage caused by the floods depends on how long it will prolong.

Dr Nishat said more attention has to be given to protect the river embankments.

Speaking as chief guest, Food and Disaster Management Minister Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yousuf said it is really difficult for the government alone to tackle the flood situation.

" As flood is a natural phenomenon in Bangladesh, we have to think how the damage caused by floods could be minimised," he added.

"It is very difficult to reach relief materials to every people as more than two crore people have been affected by the current floods," said the minister.

CWEE Chairperson Hasna Moudud said Bangladesh will have to reach agreement with neighboring countries on flood forecasting to reduce the flood damages.

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