Flash floods have plunged most of the port city into a severe crisis of drinkable water as intermittent rain continues to upend lives in more and more areas of the Chattogram division.
Consistent rain over the last five days has submerged almost 60% of the port city, causing drinking water to mix with dirty and sewage water. Many deep tube wells, residential water tanks, water pumps and motors have gone under water and thus become damaged.
Maksud Alam, Chattogram Wasa Chief Engineer, told TBS that even at the state-run facility, the water supply source has become contaminated. The Wasa authorities will soon issue a public notification urging all to start applying modern water tank purification procedures as per prescribed guidelines, he added.
The situation is reminiscent of the 2018 crisis in the city’s Halishahar area, when at least 20 people died from drinking contaminated water. The crisis could repeat across the city this time if preventive measures cannot be taken at the earliest.
Sujit Saha from Chandgaon area of the port city told The Business Standard that the tube well at his home has gone underwater and become inoperative. He is collecting two hours’ rainfall to boil and drink. Fatema Khatun from Baluchhara area said water has poured into the pump storage place and dirty water is emitting from the place.
With no sign of the rains stopping, roads, highways, alleys and also the ground floors of many buildings have gone completely or partially under water. In some places commuters have to wade through chest-deep water.
All 15 upazilas of Chattogram district have also been inundated. Chandnaish and Satkania upazilas have been particularly hit with almost all the tube wells in the two upazilas getting submerged.
Abu Reza Mohammad Nezamuddin Nadwi, lawmaker from Satkania and Lohagara upazilas, told The Business Standard that he is taking the help of the local administration to provide dry food and if possible cooked food to the water-bound people in his area.
Nazrul Islam Chowdhury, lawmaker from Chandnaish upazila, said dry food and drinkable water are being distributed among common people.
Chattogram district Deputy Commissioner Abul Bashar Mohammed Fakhruzzaman said he has allocated 3.5 thousand packs of dry food, necessary supply of saline and water purification tablets for use at the field level.
Meanwhile, the flood situation has worsened in Bandarban district, which is also suffering from food and pure water crisis. The army has been deployed there to alleviate the dire situation. ***