May 16, 2021

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Severe Water Crisis in T South, Demands Urgent Action

In Bangladesh, the new Bengali year usually begins with the arrival of rain, Kalavaishakhi storms and even hail. But in the meantime, even though the second week of Bengali New Year-1428 is going on, there has been very little rain in most parts of the country, even in many places there has been no rain so far. Which is proving to be unusual this year. This has led to declining groundwater levels, water shortages and drinking water shortages, and increasing salinity in water, especially in coastal districts.

South coastal districts of Bangladesh like Satkhira and Barguna are facing severe water crisis. Due to the increase in salinity, the source of fresh water like ponds is drying up, and the water in tubewells is also decreasing day by day. The use of contaminated water has increased the incidence of diseases like diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, jaundice, gastric, urinary tract infections, skin diseases, constipation, genital itching and sores. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during pregnancy and in women with chronic diseases such as tumors and uterine cancer.

The water crisis in March-April has reached a critical level. Looking at 2 unions of Kaliganj upazila of Satkhira district – Bharashimla and Mathureshpur and 6 unions of Patharghata upazila of Barguna district, it is seen that the water level of the pond has decreased due to low rainfall. As a result, the pond sand filter attached to the pond has become useless.

The abundance of bangachi has been seen in various ponds of Kaliganj in Satkhira district. More than six hundred families from more than ten villages in the region collect water from this source for daily use. Rahima Khatun of Narayanpur village said that they are collecting and using this water as there is no other source of water.
The responsibility of collecting and conserving water mainly falls on women. When there is a shortage of water, they are unable to fulfill this responsibility. As a result, the suffering of women and girls is increasing which is leading to ‘feminism’ of water scarcity and crisis. Many women are suffering from various diseases due to the use of unclean and contaminated water.

Mahatab Hossain, a doctor on duty at Kaliganj Upazila Health Complex, said, “Lately, many women are coming for treatment for diseases like urinary infections, genital itching and white discharge (leukorrhea).”

Water scarcity adversely affects the health of women, adolescents and the whole family, as we know water is an essential element for life. It also has social and economic implications, and the problem doubled during the Corona epidemic. Rural tolerance is under threat due to water crisis and scarcity.

A female water user in Satkhira said the price of water in the market has doubled. Moreover, due to the Corona epidemic, their income has decreased and they cannot afford to buy water from the market. So they are being forced to use contaminated water. So it has created a tripartite problem for women.

Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said, “ActionAid Bangladesh is providing water to the people on an emergency basis at an early stage to address this crisis. In the medium term, we are working with local people to find locally led sustainable solutions to the water crisis, considering future climate trends. But it needs a lasting solution and I urge the government and all development agencies to work together to tackle this climate crisis. ”

He added that world leaders are attending the Virtual Climate Summit on April 22, 2021 at the invitation of President Biden. We, the people of the southern part of Bangladesh, agree with those who are facing a severe water crisis and say that climate protection measures should not be limited to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is not the target for 2025; We have to work for this from now on. They have to act responsibly and ensure that the common man is freed from this predicament.

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