A river tragedy survivor stares into a future without parents, sisters

  • Ripon Chandra Mallik, Madaripur Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-05-03 22:17:38 BdST


An eight-year-old girl will live parentless for the rest of her life.

The girl, identified only as Meem, lost her entire family -- her parents and two sisters -- to a river tragedy that killed 26 people in Madaripur on Monday. The family were heading home to Terokhada Upazila in the southwestern district of Khulna.

Meem’s family and other victims packed a speedboat to travel across a stretch of the Padma River at a time when the coronavirus lockdown shut the public transport system across Bangladesh.

Meem, now orphaned by the crash between the overcrowded speedboat and a sand carrier in Madaripur’s Shibchar Upazila, identified her parents and sisters at the Dotara Government Primary School.

The school premises turned into a makeshift morgue, crowded by people in search of their loved ones.

Gloom filled the air. The bodies were kept there after rescuers retrieved them from the river. The local authorities were busy checking the IDs of the dead and passing the information on to the relatives.

The authorities handed 17 bodies to their relatives until Monday evening.

Md Asaduzzaman, Shibchar Upazila executive officer, said the authorities sent Meem along with the bodies of her family members by an ambulance home to Terokhada.

Shibchar Police OC Miraz Hossain said the speedboat was carrying 32 passengers. Six survivors were hospitalised.

The survivors blamed the speedboat driver for the accident, saying he was speeding “recklessly” right from the start of their trip.

Rahima Khatun, deputy commissioner of Madaripur district, has announced Tk 20,000 in compensation for each of the families of the dead.

The district administration in Madaripur and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority have launched investigations into the disaster.

As the virus lockdown shut public transportation, including launch services, some small passenger water transports continued their services, taking advantage of the desperate people.