Hard blow for fish farmers

Fish, shrimp pens and other structures in the coastal areas surrounding the Sundarbans have been damaged by tidal waves and storms due to the impact of Cyclone Yaas causing a loss of over 5 crore Tk.

About 4,830 fish and shrimp enclosures were washed away by tidal waves on Tuesday and Wednesday in Bagerhat. The losses can be estimated at around Tk 4.5 crore, said ASM Russell, district fisheries manager.

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Fish farmers from Rampal, Mongla, Sharankhola and Morrelganj upazilas from Bagerhat are the worst victims of the disaster, he added.

“It was raining incessantly on Tuesday evening, making the surrounding shore of my shrimp pen vulnerable. When the tidal waters came in, the surrounding shore collapsed and all of my fish were washed away. I suffered a loss of about 5 lakh Tk, “said Shahriar Hossain, shrimp farmer in Rampal upazila.

Several hundred fish farmers have experienced a similar situation in the district, said Mahtab Hawlader, from Teligati village in Morrelganj upazila.

Government officials are currently preparing a list of affected fish farmers to provide assistance, ASM Russell said.

There are 67,000 shrimp and other fish farms in Bagerhat. The target for fish production in this district for the current fiscal year is 33,000 tonnes, he added.

The Fishery Officer, however, asserted that the damage to the fish and shrimp pens would not affect the production target, saying the fish were not dying; rather, he went from one place to another.

Meanwhile, in the Sundarbans, several waterboats, watchtowers, jetties, crocodile sheds, footrests and other structures were damaged by tidal waves and storms, causing a loss of around 60 Tkh, according to forestry officials.

Water in the canals and rivers adjacent to the forest rose five to six feet on Wednesday. In addition, there was a strong wind. These have caused damage to infrastructure, said Joynal Abedin, deputy forest curator of the Eastern Sundarbans Forest Department under the Sharankhola Range.

The disaster also damaged wildlife. Four deer bodies were found after the storm, he added.

In Khulna, some 36 villages of Koyra upazila were flooded after breaking through dikes.

“The inhabitants are repairing embankments in different places to stop the water from gushing out in the localities,” said SM Shafiqul Islam, president of Koyra upazila parishad.

Koyra upazila is surrounded by the Kabodak and Sakbaria rivers. There are approximately 155 km of embankments in the upazila. Of these, about 4 km were crossed at 25 points.

“We have already fixed four points, but 21 points still need to be fixed,” Shafiqul said.

Abul Hossain, engineer superintendent of the Water Development Board in Khulna, told the Daily Star that they had already distributed geo-bags to local presidents to repair the embankments. The presidents were repairing the dams with the help of the local population, he said.

He added that they were already hiring workers at different locations to repair the dams. “We are assessing the damage caused by the disaster.”

Contacted yesterday afternoon, Enamur Rahman, Minister of State for Disaster Management and Relief, said 27 upazilas from nine districts had been affected by the cyclone.

Dams erupted at 51 points in different districts and around 9,000 cattle were also affected. The government has already sent 16,500 packages of food to those affected, he added.

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About Douglas Mackenzie

Douglas Mackenzie

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