Allegation of discrimination in relief distribution among flood affected people in Ruma

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Hill Voice, 28 August 2023, Bandarban: Due to recent heavy rains several areas of Bandarban district including Thanchi, Ruma, Rowangchari upazila and Bandarban town were inundated. Thousands of people were displaced. Even when the flood water receded, their houses and crops were severely damaged. Many lands were filled with up to 20-25 feet of silt, which became almost impossible to retrieve. Moreover, many have lost all their cattle and poultry and have become almost destitute.

It is known that for the help of these flood-affected people, on August 17, 2023, Bandarban District Superintendent of Police sent 20 kg of rice, pulses, potatoes, onions, and chilies per family to Ruma for about 400 families. Ruma Union Chairman Shaibong Marma was supposed to receive these relief items, but Awami League’s Jewel Bawm, Changpui Bawm, Thangkamlian Bawm and other leaders and workers received these relief items. But during the distribution of relief, none of the Tripura community of Ruma Upazila was given this relief assistance.

It is reported that this relief assistance was given to 250 families of Bawm community and 100 families of Marma and 50 families of Bengali and others of Ruma Sadar. However, there is no question of water rising in all the areas where Bawm people live, said an eyewitness who did not want to be named.

It is known that 92 families of Tripura community live in Ruma Sadar. Among them 35 affected families of 1st category, 25 affected families of 2nd category and 33 partially affected families. But none of the Tripura community was given this relief.

Also, 30 families were given relief assistance by Ruma Upazila Nirbahi Officer. But even there only 4 Tripura families got that assistance and they too are said to be families of Awami League workers.