Winter rain raises woes of people hit by bitter cold

The extreme weather conditions hit the income of the poor and the working class

Gopalganj CorrespondentJashore and Benapole
Published : 18 Jan 2024, 04:59 PM
Updated : 18 Jan 2024, 04:59 PM

Gopalganj, Jashore and Benapole Correspondents,

Rain amid the biting winter cold has brought daily life in parts of Bangladesh, including Gopalganj, Jashore and Benapole, to a standstill, forcing people to hunker down at home.

The cold intensified in some areas after light to moderate rain since early on Thursday morning.

The extreme weather conditions hit the poor and the working class hard as their sources of income dried up.

The cold also disrupted loading and unloading operations at Benapole Land Port.

Gopalganj experienced 11 millimetres of rain in a 24-hour count, while the lowest temperature in the district fell to 12.7 degrees Celsius, according to Abu Sufian, chief of the local meteorological office.

Trinath Biswas, a day labourer in Gopalganj town, left home after noon as the rain heightened the chill so much that he could not go out to work in the morning.

"I earned only Tk 400 after working the whole day. It isn't easy to feed my family with this money. There'll be no comfort until the rain and cold decrease," he said.

Labourer Shariat Hossain wasn't able to go out in the morning either. "I survived the day with the blanket the authorities gave me."

Hossain Molla came to the town from his home village to work but has had difficulty finding a place to stay, let alone a job. "I don't even have enough warm clothing. It's painful," said the worker as he took shelter on the footpath along a park.

At Benapole Land Port, Raju Ahmed, a leader among the handling workers, said they could not proceed with loading and unloading because of the rain on top of the cold and dense fog.

Port worker Abdus Selim said it had grown difficult to go out, and those who did leave home could not work properly.

Handling worker Rabiul Islam said the sun came out in the afternoon but failed to drive away the cold amid a chilly wind from the north. "I could not work as my hands and legs stiffened in the cold."

The extreme cold has disrupted exports and imports, said Azim Uddin Gazi, general secretary of Benapole Transport Agency Owners' Association.

The trucks carrying goods for export cannot arrive in the port promptly as the dense fog lowers visibility into the afternoon, forcing drivers to slow down to avoid accidents, he said.

Rezaul Islam, a deputy director at the Benapole Land Port Authority, said the handling workers were facing difficulties inside the port or the open yard because of the cold snap, although the officials were ordered to take steps to ease the backlog of goods.

In Jashore, it rained heavily from around 5:30 am to 7:45 am.

Afterwards, it continued to drizzle as the sky remained overcast. The local weather office reported 17 millimetres of rainfall until 10:30 am.

The mercury dipped to as low as 10.8 degrees Celsius on Wednesday and rose slightly to 12.2 degrees Celsius on Thursday, but it felt colder because of the rain.

Fewer people left their homes. Attendance at schools also fell.

Sushanta Kumar Tarafdar, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension in the district, said the rain was a blessing to the Boro paddy, but it will damage the mustard crop as the flowers cannot stand the shower.

"The damage will increase if the rain continues for more than a day. The rain is also harmful for potatoes."