Today is the 25th of May. It’s been 12 years. Thousands of affected families along the southwestern coast of the country have not yet been rehabilitated in Aila. There is still a severe shortage of food, clothing, shelter and drinking water in the homeless villages.
The omnivorous Aila is still devouring thousands of affected people in the coastal region of Satkhira’s Shyamnagar and Asashuni upazilas. Risky embankments in coastal areas have not been repaired. After Ayla, cyclone Amphan came to the area. Even then, the vast coastal areas became landlocked. It’s like a blow to the head.
On May 25, 2009, the devastating ‘Aila’ caused by the tidal wave and cyclone hit the south-west coastal town. Within moments, vast coastal areas of Satnagar’s Shyamnagar, Asashuni and Koyra and Dakop upazilas of Khulna district were razed to the ground. Thousands of people, including women and children, thousands of cattle and houses were swept away by the sea water at a height of 14-15 feet above normal. Millions of families became homeless. Millions of hectares of shrimp and crop fields were submerged. Coastal protection dams and numerous educational institutions were destroyed.
63 people were killed in Satkhira alone due to Ayla’s injuries. More than two hundred people were injured. Although 12 years have passed since Ayla was injured, the cries of the people have not stopped in Gabura, Padmapukur and Pratapnagar areas of Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira. They have to fight with life for dumutho rice. Since Ayla, the drinking water crisis in these areas has taken a definite shape. Having to run mile after mile for drinking water.
Roads and coastal embankments in the area have not been properly repaired yet. On May 20, 2020, the coastal town was again hit by cyclone Amphan. Meanwhile, the arrival of cyclone ‘Yas’ in the area again. As a result, millions of people in the coastal areas are living in fear of the collapse of the dilapidated embankment.
But even 12 years ago, the coastal areas of Shyamnagar and Asashuni in Satkhira were full of green forests. The whole area was filled with vegetables, paddy, jute and other crops. But that day is no more. The soil of the area has become toxic due to salinity. Fence and enclosure of treeless fish all around. There is no green plague. No environmental balance.
Locals demanded that the government take immediate action to repair potable water and roads in the affected areas, including the construction of sustainable embankments.
Asashuni Upazila Parishad Vice-Chairman Asim Baran Chakraborty said the people of the coastal area of Satkhira have not been able to stand tall even after 12 years of the catastrophic Ayla. Even today the people there lack food, clothing, shelter. At the same time the communication system is also disconnected. And the embankments of the Water Development Board are in a terrible condition. Although repaired in one or two places, there are terrible cracks in most places. At any time, under the pressure of a strong tide, it can break again and flood a large area. He sought the intervention of the Prime Minister in building a sustainable embankment.
Satkhira Deputy Commissioner SM Mostafa Kamal said the government is trying to solve all the problems in the coastal areas.