June 24, 2024, 11:59 am

CYCLONE REMAL: Forest workers, animals facing acute water crisis in Sundarbans

  • Update Time : Monday, June 3, 2024
  • 16 Time View
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TDS DESK:

Cyclone Remal has devastated the Sundarbans mangrove forest, leaving most of it submerged, around 80 ponds drained, and all the freshwater reservoirs destroyed.

As a result, for the last seven days, some 400 forest workers in the remote areas of the Sundarbans have faced a severe shortage of drinking water and fresh water needed for household work.

The wild animals are also in crisis. Deer were seen defecating around the forest offices. In the last week, at least 127 deer were rescued from the Sundarbans. It is believed that they were drowned in the flood and died of salt water.

According to officials, there are 880 forest workers in 49 offices in the Sundarbans. Out of this, 400 people are working in remote areas. There is no food or water. They have not had water for bathing for the last seven days.

Divisional Forest Officer Md Nurul Kabir of East Sundarbans Division said that there are 380 forest workers under the 37 forest offices of the sanctuary, including Katka, Kochi Khali, Dubal, Shyala, Alor Kol, Sharankhola, Karamjal and Chandpai in his zone.

“Of these, 300 are in dire need of fresh water. Forest workers are not getting drinking water; not even fresh water to take a bath.”

He said deer were seen defecating around several closed offices. This is happening due to consumption of salt water.

Divisional Conservation Officer (West Division) Abu Naser Md Mohsin Hossain said that there are 500 forest workers in West Sundarbans. Among them, 100 workers in 12 offices of the sanctuary, including the remote areas of Mandarbaria, Haldi Bunia, Pushpa Kathi, Natabeki, Kachikatha, Thara, Omar Khali, Pathakosta are facing freshwater crisis. They are not even getting fresh water for bathing.

Mihir Kumar Doe, forest conservator of the Sundarbans Khulna region, said removing the salinity of ponds in the interior of the Sundarbans has now become the biggest challenge. Since the ponds are submerged in salt water, the water has become completely unfit for use by wildlife, foresters and forest workers.

“Since the water in the pond has become unusable, the forest workers working in various camps and stations inside the forest have not been able to take a bath for the past few days. There is no easy way to deal with a pond filled with saline water.

“The process of irrigating the ponds immersed in salt water in various camps and stations has been started by installing saltwater machines. After all the water in the pond has been irrigated and thrown out, we have to wait for rain. It will be possible to use it when the pond is filled with rainwater. So now we have to look forward to rain based on nature,” he added.

 

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