Slow Onset Disaster in Bangladesh Coast: Lunar tidal flood 2014

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Coastal_Flood_affected_areas_indexBhola and Kutubdia islands along with the other 15 coastal districts of Bangladesh have sunk under another lunar tide within the 4 weeks cycle of the moon during 12 to 14 August 2014.

And a heavy rainfall on top of it jeopardizes the situation. People had to leave their households once again and took shelter on the higher places in the locality like embankments and roads with whatever they belong.

As reported in the local newspapers in the Southern coastal region in Bangladesh, 40 villages in Bhola are hugely flooded by the lunar tide affected by the ‘Super Moon’ and around 50 thousand people are stranded inside the water. The Kutubdia island under Cox’s Bazar district is similarly affected and one of the most affected union is North Dhurung where nearly two thousand families have been heavily affected and become homeless. Unfortunately the national media, based in the cities, just overlooked the flood.

Bangladesh is a cyclone prone country and landfalls of cyclones draw everyone’s attention and consecutive relief-works are duly seen around. But the irony is when the Super Moon was getting the romantic celebration throughout urban people the coast of Bangladesh was getting flooded. They were engaged in saving their belongings instead of taking a chance to look at the poetic Super Moon.

The coastal area of Bangladesh belongs to the ‘Principal Lunar Semi-Diurnal Constituent’ that faces two tides and two ebbs in every 24 hours. On the other hand, a ‘Perigean Spring Tide’ is a tide that occurs three or four times a year when the Moon’s perigee (its closest point to Earth during its 28-day elliptical orbit) coincides with the Spring Tide (when the Earth, Sun and Moon are nearly aligned every two weeks). This lunar affect increases the tide at least 20% higher than the normal. During these lunar tides the coastal areas are usually more flooded than the rainy seasonal floods in the mainland and it draws nobody’s attention. That’s why we call it the Slow Onset Disaster.

Moreover, the flood situation is deteriorated for the coastline of Bangladesh has almost no embankment to stop the seawater intrusion. We have been advocating for long time with the government to protect the coastal land from this kind of tidal flood to not only save the people but also save the crop. This enormous damage of crops every year is really a potential thread to the future food security. This is how this kind of apparently small but effective disaster works.
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Video link about Flood victims are talking about the situation in Aslampur in Charfassion in Bhola District.
Video link about Flood Victims are taking about the situation in Hajariganj in Charfassion in Bhola District.

400 families in Kutubdia are assisted by COAST

indx2COAST Trust tried to stand by the affected people of North Dhurung in Kutubdia island in Cox’s Bazar with its limited strength. 400 bags of food consisting rice, pulse, edible oil and daily essentials are distributed among the families who had to leave their households due to the tidal flood. Another 500 bags of the same is being arranged for the people in Bhola.

The Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar District Mr. Ruhul Amin was present during the food distribution along with the Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Kutubdia Mr. Mominur Rashid, Vice Chairman of the Upazila Mr. Humayun Kabir Chowdhury, Upazila Chairman Mr. Siraj-Ud-Dowla and Assistant Director of COAST Trust Mr. Tarik Syed Harun.

The Deputy Commissioner said, I appreciate COAST Trust initiated the relief work with its limited resource before the government’s assistance is arrived. Everyone should respond like them in this kind of disaster.

The local newspapers reported that the embankment is broken and allowed to seawater to intrude into the locality and around 2 thousands families had to leave their households and took shelter on the different higher places under the sky.

COAST is not the official agency to mobilize this kind of relief-work instead of the government or other organizations who work on the disaster. But still COAST tried to respond rapidly to the disaster situation, because it is the working area of COAST. But the organization urge the government for three steps of solutions i.e. (1) immediate response to the affected people as it is emergency, (2) short term solutions like arrange drinking water right after the flood gets down and (3) long term initiatives to protect the future floods like building concrete embankment to protect the coastal land to ensure the harvest of the on-field crops.
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300 families in Bhola are provided emergency food
Index3COAST Trust from its limited resource provided emergency food items to 300 families severely affected by the lunar tidal flood in Charfassion in Bhola district. The Deputy Commissioner of Bhola district Mr. Selim Reza along with the Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Char fassion Mr. Rezaul Karim and Upazila Chairman of Charfassion Mr. Jaynal Abedin Akan was present in the food distribution.
The Distribution of emergency food items took place in the Aslampur Union Council Building in Charfassion. Pregnant and lactating mothers, elderly men and women, women headed family and handicapped are given priority in selecting as the recipients of the emergency food. 300 families are selected beforehand from Aslampur, Char Madraj and Hajariganj in Charfassion upazila.
Regional Team Leader of COAST Ms Rashida Begum, Project Coordinator of CLS Mr. Jahirul Islam and Project Coordinator of C4D Mr. Khokan Chandra Shil were present on behalf of COAST Trust while the distribution while all the respective Union Council Chairmen and members were also present.
The Deputy Commissioner said after the distribution that, due to the negligence of WDB the embankment was not completed before the monsoon though it was supposed to. He added, we like to share that the order for the embankment is already there and Inshallah by November 2014 the embankment will be repaired and rebuilt to protect the suffering people.
Mr. Jahirul Islam on behalf of COAST Trust said, as our organization works with the poorest people in this area we couldn’t but step ahead with the emergency support. But it is really not possible to make it alone. We need the respond from the government and donors. He added, COAST along with other coastal NGOs have been agitating for a permanent concrete block embankment to save Bhola which might cost 600 million Taka.
Download [Press Release]

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