a year ago

As power outage grips Dhaka, citizens reel from drinking water crisis, heat

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Ratan Sikdar Shanto, a small business owner, lives with his wife and their children in the Abdullahpur dam area. But his wife was in for a rude awakening on Tuesday when she returned from their son’s school, only to find there was no power or water supply at home.

Drained by the sweltering heat, she and her two children climbed up to their rooftop for some respite. But worries about the lack of water lingered in the back of her mind.

Shanto called her over the phone in the afternoon and asked her to gather some water to drink from nearby areas, reports UNB.

“We get water from a deep tube well and store it in bottles. I’m at my wit's end. I may have to draw water from the reserves after returning home at night,” he said.

Power outages hit large swathes of Dhaka, Chattogram, Sylhet and Mymensingh divisions after a transmission line of the national grid tripped, according to officials.

The trouble started around 2 pm on Tuesday due to a 'technical glitch', Power Grid Company of Bangladesh or PGCB said.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the power supply had normalised in some areas, but it could take until 8 pm to restore the connection to Dhaka and 9 pm to Chattogram.

Along with a water supply crisis, the outage also hampered other aspects of daily life, such as cooking, bathing and moving up and down tall buildings in lifts.

Farah Tanzim Titli, a teacher at Kushtia Islami University’s Department of Economics, is currently on vacation. She is staying in a flat owned by her family at Lalmatia’s National Housing. The building she resides in comprises 130 flats.

“Power went out at 2 pm. The generator was providing back up but that, too, juiced out. We’re used to the generator powering us during outages, so we had nothing else as a failsafe.”

Their lift had already shut down and concerns grew over other utilities. “My mother lives in the building beside us and they have no water. So it’s clear that the power outage will trigger other issues.”

“Our sufferings will amplify if this continues.”

Mesbah Uddin Babul, a resident of the densely-populated Lalbagh area in Old Dhaka, also suffered a water supply cut following the outage. “The mosque made an announcement, asking us to perform ablution and go pray.”

Bablu mentioned that his relatives and acquaintances from Chawkbazar, Azimpur and Bakhshibazar areas were going through similar tribulations.

Hira Akhter, a housewife from Mirpur 1, said: “The power went out in the hour when we take baths and the kids return from school. But water supply stopped a half hour after the power cut. One of us was in the middle of taking a bath. The children are whining in the heat and aren’t calming down at all. There’s no end to our sufferings.”

Nusrat Jahan, a student of Shaheed Bir Uttam Lt Anwar Girls’ College, resides in a private hostel in Farmgate. “I was having lunch when the outage hit. I initially thought it’ll be back, but it’s not yet.

“It’s baking in my room. There is no drinking water in the hostel. The more glaring issue is that my home’s lost internet connectivity, there’s no network at all. I can’t speak with my mother back home.”


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