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6 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Cold, fog batter life across country

Cold, fog batter life across country
People covered in winter clothes cross the Buriganga River on a boat near Sadarghat yesterday morning as the mercury in the capital dips to 10.5s degrees Celsius and the chilly winter spreads across the country. Photo: Mahmud Zaman

A continuing cold wave along with dense fog across the country has caused immense suffering to the poor people and disrupted ferry and aircraft services. The country recorded its lowest temperature this winter yesterday with the mercury plummeting to 6.5°C in the south-western district of Chuadanga. The situation is particularly grim in the northern part of the country with people forced to restrict their movement in the mornings to escape the biting cold. According to reports by our correspondents, poor people were burning straw and covering their cattle with sacks and cloths to ward off the chill.

Meanwhile, most ferry services have been disrupted on the Paturia-Daulatdia, Shimulia-Kawdakandi and Shariatpur-Chandpur routes due to dense fog for the past few days, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Besides, all flight operations were suspended at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka for seven and a half hours yesterday due to heavy fog. Sources said flights from Dhaka to Syedpur were also disrupted for a few days.

Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) spokesperson AKM Rezaul Karim said they were forced to suspend flight operations from 2.45 am to 10.11 am yesterday. Domestic flight operations resumed at 10.11 am while international flights started at 10.35 am, he added. A Biman Bangladesh flight to Kolkata and a Regent Airways flight to Bangkok were delayed due to the suspension of operations. Besides, 10 early morning domestic services—four of Novoair, three of US Bangla Airlines, two of Bangladesh Biman and one of Regent Airways—were also disrupted.

There is more bad news in store with the Met office forecasting that moderate to thick fog would likely occur across the country in the next few days. The cold wave may also continue for a day or two, it added.

The Met office blamed the drop in temperature to a ridge of sub-continental high extending up to West Bengal in India and the adjoining north-western part of Bangladesh.

Yesterday, the mercury dropped to 10.5°C in Dhaka, 9°C in Rangpur, 8.9°C in Dinajpur, 8.6°C in Srimangal, 8.5°C in Tangail, 8.4°C in

Gopalganj and 8°C in Mymensingh. The country’s lowest temperature yesterday was recorded at 6.43°C in Jessore. Mongla in Khulna district, however, bucked the trend by recording a maximum temperature of 28.8°C. According to the Met forecast for January, north and central Bangladesh may experience a medium (6-8°C) to intense (4-6°C) cold waves this month, while there will be two to three mild (8-10°C) or medium cold waves in other parts of the country. Our Kurigram correspondent reports: Dense fog and cold wave have paralysed life in the northern district with cold-related ailments like pneumonia and diarrhoea being reported from several places. A one-year-old infant has died of diarrhoea in the district.

At least four lakh poor people living around chars and riverine areas in the district have been affected due to the cold for the past three days.

Nazrul Islam, weather observer at Rajarhat Met department in Kurigram, said the cold wave may continue for the next two days.

Bazlur Rahman (35), a daily labourer from Char Nawabosh village in Kurigram Sadar upazila, said, “I cannot go out for work in the mornings because of the bone-chilling cold. My children are suffering due to want of proper warm clothes. I have covered my cattle with old sacks to keep them warm.”

Shahor Banu (60) of Hatirpar area echoed the plight: “I am suffering from cold panics for three days due to lack of warm clothes. I had asked my ward councillor to provide me some warm clothes, but he failed to do so.”

Sources in the district disaster and rehabilitation department said they have received 57,000 blankets from the relief ministry and they were being distributed to all the upazila administrations.

 Our Lalmonirhat correspondent reports: Dense fog and cold wave blowing from the north have paralyzed life in both rural and urban areas in the district for the past couple of days.

Hospitals in the district have also reported a rise in patients, particularly children and aged people, suffering from cold-related ailments. The sun is hardly visible during the day, leaving people shivering with bone chilling cold all the time. In the evenings, dense fog hinders movement of traffic on highways.

The situation is particularly bad for the people living around Dharla and Teesta river basin areas in the district. Most of them live below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy warm clothes due to high prices. However, the biting cold has come as a reason for cheer for traders of woollen clothes. They are making good profit by selling warm clothes, even second hand ones, at two to three times higher prices than the previous years. But the high prices have not deterred those from the middle and upper middle income groups from flocking the roadside stalls selling warm clothes. Nur Alam, a trader of second-hand woollen clothes in Lalmonirhat’s Bus Stand area, said he had to purchase his wares at much higher prices this year. “So, I am forced to sell them at higher prices, which are beyond the means of poor people and those from the low income group,” he added.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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