June 18, 2021

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Children are big victims of tidal surges

If there was a cyclone on the coast before, there would have been many deaths due to houses, trees and many other things. But instead of this trend from cyclone Ampan, higher tidal waters have increased human deaths. The main victims are children.

Although there was no storm on May 26 due to cyclone Yas, the loss of 12 lives in the coastal areas of the country is like a thunderstorm without clouds. Although there was no visible violence from the storm, 11 people drowned on the coast. One died in the tree felling. Nine of the drowned children were children between the ages of two and a half and seven. The other two are adults. One of them is a woman and the other is young.

Disaster mitigation experts say it is certainly a new experience. Without the intensity of the storm, 11 people died just drowning. It is certainly worrying for the future. They say the weather warning was at number 3 in the country as the cyclone was heading towards Odisha, India. Many did not go to the shelter for this. But from the beginning, the meteorological department was spreading the signal of tidal wave. This storm has taught us that, regardless of the direction of the cyclone, the risk of tidal surges will be more severe than future storms.

The tide has been rising on the country’s coast for a decade. And the loss of tidal wave is increasing more than the storm. But there is no separate signal system for tidal surges.

Anisur Rahman, a senior observer at the Barisal Meteorological Department, said the tidal wave was forecast. On the one hand, the tide was higher than normal in the full moon, on the other hand, there was a lunar eclipse and Pubali wind. As a result,
there was already a risk of higher tides and it has happened.

Storms and tidal surges occur every year in Bangladesh. But this time, the death of so many children in storms and tidal surges has not been seen in the recent past. A three-year-old boy named Imamul fell from his mother’s lap and drowned while rushing to the shelter to escape the water. An hour later, the body of this child was found in Betagi upazila of Barguna. On the morning and afternoon of May 26, Sumaiya and Azwa, two three-year-old children from Bakerganj, went to play in tidal water in the open land next to their house. Later their bodies were seen floating in the water. Hasina, 55, of Santoshdichar area of ​​Dumki in Patuakhali died on May 28 when she went to cut hogla leaves on the banks of Lohalia river. On the same day, another child named Chayeba (9) drowned in tidal water in Tiakhali union of Kalapara upazila. Siam (6) drowned in tidal water on May 26 in Rajapur, Jhalokati. Two children named Samia (4) died. The body was recovered two days later when the child named Lima Akter (7) of Amanullah village of Hatiyarchar went missing in the tidal water on May 28. Similarly, another child named Zinnia Akhter (4) died in Bagerhat. On May 26, Zinnia was swept away by the tidal waters. A fisherman named Hadiuzzaman (45) died after being swept away by the tide while catching pona fish at Sonagazi in Feni. Abu Bakar, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy, drowned in tidal water at Lakurtala village in Kalmegha union of Patharghata upazila on May 28.

On May 20 last year, two children in Mehendiganj and a young man named Salauddin drowned in high tide while riding a cow in Sandwip, Chittagong.

Cyclone Preparation Center Barisal Regional Deputy Director. Shahabuddin Ahmed said high tides, lack of embankments and breakage of fragile embankments are major problems on the coast. If the dams are not repaired quickly or the tides are not stopped, any storm, even the tides of the new moon-full moon ahead, will suffer a lot.

Aminur Rahman, director of the Center for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB), a non-governmental organization, said it was important for children to learn to swim, raise family awareness and prevent the issue from going public.