The biting cold, coupled with dense fog, hit the normal life hard across the country, disrupting air and ferry services on Sunday.
The number of patients with cold-related diseases and diarrhoea is growing forcing them to crowd hospitals and clinics at different parts of the country, especially the northern districts.
Besides, the poor, particularly the day labourers and rickshaw-pullers, have been suffering badly due to the shivering cold. Those living in slums and chars have also become the worst suffers for lack of adequate warm clothes.
Flight operations at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and ferry services at Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Kathalbari routes were disrupted for several hours due to poor visibility caused by thick fog.
Transport drivers also faced difficulties to ply their vehicles at night and in the morning as visibility dropped down to few metres on the national highways.
According to the Met office, the chilling condition is unlikely to improve very soon.
Contacted, Abdul Manna, a meteorologist at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), said the country’s Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions are still under a ‘marginal cold wave’ with the average temperature remaining below 10 degrees Celsius.
He said the capital has been experiencing average 11 degrees Celsius of temperature over the last one week while 12.8 degrees Celsius today (Sunday).
Mannan said the chilling condition in the capital is likely to prevail four more days as the sun remains almost invisible during daytime due to the fogy condition.
Flight operations at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) were disrupted for six hours since early Sunday due to the dense fog, leading to the cancellation of all domestic flights and diversion of one international flight.
Poor runway visibility forced the airport authorities to stop both inbound and outbound flight operations, the officer said adding that a domestic flight left the airport after 11 am as the fog disappeared.
“HSIA got blanketed with thick fog leading to diversion of Kuala Lumpur -Dhaka fight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines to Kolkata. Besides, all domestic flights were cancelled as the runway visibility dropped since 5.10 am,” Rezaul Karim, Public Relations Officer of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) said.
Meanwhile, ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari route in the Padma River resumed after four hours of disruption due to poor visibility caused by heavy fog on in the morning.
Shah Newaz Khalid, assistant general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), said ferry services on the river route came to a complete halt from 6 am to avoid accidents.
Besides, the ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia route in the Padma River were disrupted for several hours due to the dense fog, causing long tailbacks on both sides of the ferry river.
“To avoid any untoward incident, the ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia route were kept suspended from 4:30 am due to poor visibility caused by heavy fog,” said Nasir Mohammad Chowdhury, assistant general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) at Aricha.
Those who joined the the Akheri Munajat of the first phase of Biswa Ijtema on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi suffered badly due to biting cold.
According to reports reaching the UNB desk from different districts, including Kurigram, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Sirajgonj and Comilla, the poor, mainly the day labourers, were affected badly for lack of work as most people were forced to stay indoors due to the shivering cold.
Most public places, including haats, bazaars, bus stands, and other places looked deserted as fewer people came out of their homes for the inclement weather.
Many people, mainly elderly ones and kids are being affected with diarrhoea, pneumonia, respiratory and other problems due to the bone-chilling cold.
According to UNB Comilla correspondent, over 300 patients affected with cold-related diseases and diarrhoea admitted to sadar and other hospitals over the last one week.