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PM’s love, compassion for flood-hit haor people

SHALLA, Sunamganj- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today demonstrated her extraordinary love and compassion towards the flood-hit haor people as she visited some affected areas of the upazila in the northeastern district of Sunamganj.

After distributing relief materials among the people of the flood-affected Shalla upazila on Shahid Ali Model High School premises in the upazila headquarters this morning, the Prime Minister went, by a speedboat, to some remote areas surrounded by vast water bodies.

While visiting the areas, Sheikh Hasina distributed cash from her own fund and rice among some 100 flood-stricken families.

At that time, she talked to the people and inquired about their wellbeing.

When she asked the children of haor areas whether they got textbooks on the first day of the calendar year, the children answered in the affirmative.

"We've received the textbooks on the first day (of the year)," they told the prime minister together jubilantly.

Realising the problem of movement of the school-going children during the monsoon, Sheikh Hasina said the government will construct residential schools in haor and hilly areas of the country.

The Prime Minister arrived here at about 10 in the morning by an Air Force helicopter to see for herself the woes of the flood-affected people of the haor areas.

Before landing at a nearby ground of Shahid Ali Model High School in Shalla upazila, the premier witnessed the flood-hit areas from helicopter.

Upon her arrival, the Prime Minister addressed a gathering at Shahid Ali Model High School.

She later distributed over 38 kgs of rice and Taka 1000 each to 20 selected persons among 1000 people.

Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Food Minister Advocate Quamrul Islam, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan, State Minister for Water Resources Nazrul Islam, Awami League Joint Secretary Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif, Organizing Secretary Ahmed Hossain and local parliament member Joya Sengupta, among others, accompanied the premier during her visit to the flood-hit haor areas.

Meanwhile, the flood-affected people who received rice and cash money from the Prime Minister thanked her for standing beside them during their bad time.

When this correspondent talked to a number flood victims, including Umesh Chandra Das, Mohananda Das, Idris Ali, Radha Rani Bhandari, Sirajul Islam and Hindu Probha , who hail from different villages of Shalla, they expressed gratitude to the government and said they are happy over its (government) initiatives for the rehabilitation of the flood-hit people.

They said their crops, mainly Boro paddy, were completely damaged in the recent flashflood.

Flashflood triggered by early monsoon caused inundation of vast swathes of the country's northeastern region damaging Boro paddy just a few days ahead of harvesting and putting the livelihoods of thousands of farmers at risk.

According to the Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management, as many as 8,50,088 families of 518 unions of 62 upazilas in six districts--Sunamganj, Sylhet, Netrakona, Kishoreganj, Habiganj and Moulvibazar -- were affected in the flashflood.

Boro crops of 2,49,840 hectors of land were completely damaged and 18,205 houses were partially or fully ruined.

A total of 587 relief centres were opened to distribute relief goods. So far 4,224 metric tons of GR (gratuitous rice) and Taka 2,25,97000 were allocated as humanitarian assistance for the affected people. The distribution of GR rice is at the last stage, while VGF programme has started.

As water has risen, a total of 200 MT rice and Taka 5 lakh were allocated for Brahmanbaria district and 100 MT rice and Taka 2 lakh were allocated for Natore.

A total of 32,340 MT rice and Taka 49.50 crore have been allocated till July next for distributing as VGF among 3.30 lakh families. The VGF programme will continue till harvesting of crops in next season.

Besides, Taka 82,07,00689 were distributed among 91,447 beneficiaries under the work generating programme for the ultra poor.

Under those programmes, relief materials worth Taka 272,26,49,286 were allocated.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)