Kurigram, Aug 12 (UNB) – The joy of Eid-ul-Azha, one of the two major festivals each year decreed in the life of Muslims, eludes Zahurul Islam this year. The resident of Bhagbatipur, a char area under Jatrapur union in Kurigram - that alongside neighbouring Gaibandha have been among the worst-hit districts of this year’s monsoon flooding.
Zahurul and his family were forced to abandon their home at one point and seek refuge at one of the shelter centres run by the government in collaboration with a network of NGOs.
There, with a heavy sigh, Zahurul said, “Hamaar kisher Eid bahe….” (“What Eid is there for us?”) when asked about his plans for Eid-ul-Azha being celebrated on Monday.
Like Zahurul, Eid seems a nightmare for many people, including Abdur Rahim and Nazrul, who have taken shelter in Katgiri and Jhunkar chars as they have lost their households in the recent river erosion.
During a recent visit to the Jatra union of the district, this correspondent saw that some 520 families had been living in the Bhagabati Char since 2013 but now the very existence of the char - Bengali word for the low-lying wetlands one encounters quite frequently – at risk of river erosion.
People living in the char are now leaving it in fear of erosion.Ayub Ali Sarkar, chairman of Jatrapur union, said there are 32 villages, including 14 islands, under the union and all the villages were flooded in the recent flood.
Some 30,000 people in the district were affected by flooding while their cropland, including aman seedbeds, also went under water, he said.
The government has allocated 19.5 metric tons of rice as relief and 1,950 families got 10 kgs of rice, and 15 kgs of rice were allocated to 5,384 families under VGF programme on the occasion of Eid.
Khairul Anam, district relief and rehabilitation officer, said 894 villages were flooded in nine upazilas of the district while 2,38,500 people were affected by the flood.
Deputy Commissioner of the district Sultana Parvin said all relief items have been distributed among those who need them the most, while a list of victims, whose homes have been washed away in the throes of erosion by the Jamuna is being carefully prepared.
Zahurul works to make sure his name is enlisted, although not having visited the area around his home since arriving at the shelter centre, there is no way for him to be sure.
Secretly, he wishes his name would not need to appear in the otherwise important list.