Incessant downpour triggers flood

All major rivers are in rising trend, thousands of people marooned

Incessant downpour overnight triggered flooding in several parts of the country swelling waters in three of Bangladesh’s four river basins, marooning thousands of people and disrupting road communications in different areas. According to reports sent by our different district correspondents, different low-lying areas of northern, northeastern and southeastern regions of the country were flooded on Friday after water levels of different rivers crossed the danger mark due to the downpour.

The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre on Friday warned water levels in rivers could rise further. “All the major rivers are in rising trend . . . all the major rivers may (continue to) rise in next 72 hours,” its latest bulletin said in Dhaka on Friday. The centre also predicted a ‘rapid rise’ of water levels in rivers of northeastern Sylhet region, southwestern greater Chattagram ranging from Feni to Hill Tracts and southwestern Barishal region in the next 24 hours until Saturday.

Besides, a large number of people have also been stranded in three hill districts as vast areas of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari got submerged under water on Friday due to flash flood triggered by incessant downpour for over a week. The gushing waters also submerged vast tracks of croplands, fishing enclosures, causing huge losses to farmers.

Executive Engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan told the Bangladesh Post on Friday afternoon: “The flood situation will be worsened within next two-three days. The water level of Jamuna River has crossed danger level around 3:00pm in Jamalpur and Sirajganj. The water level may rise in Sirajganj, Manikganj and Tangail point by next two or three days.”

While asked about the cautionary measures, he said “We try to send the warning massages to the national and local level and the places where flood may damage badly”. At a meeting of ministry of disaster management and relief on Friday morning, Dr Enamur Rahman said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed to take adequate measures coordinating with field level as pre-cautionary measures following recent flood in several districts in the country.”

He also said that Tk 2 crore 93 lakh , 18,000 tones of rice, 50,000 packets of dry food and 500 tents will be sent to the affected areas by two days. “The water level of Jamuna River may rise further as the water flow of Brahmaputra River has already increased,” he added. The state minister, in a media briefing at the afternoon, said preparedness was underway to handle the situation while a central control room at his office kept a constant contact with officials in the affected areas.

Rahman said government machineries including the health ministry, armed forces and non-government organisations chalked up coordinated plans to face any situation. All major rivers may continue rising in next 72 hours and the Jumuna at Bahadurabad, Dharla at Kurigram along with Teesta and Kaunia may cross danger level in the next 24 hours.

Major rivers in Chattogram, Sylhet and Barishal division including the Surma, Kushiyara, Kangsha, Manu, Khowai, may rise rapidly in next 24 hours. Flood situation in the low lying areas of Netrokona, Sunamganj, Chattogram, and Cox’s Bazar may deteriorate in next 24 hours. The Water Development Board opened all 44 sluice gates of the Teesta Barrage to avert flood-related casualties as the rise of the Teesta already flooded nearby regions and waterlogged a few thousand people.

The heavy rain have flooded low-lying areas of Sunamganj, Sylhet, Chattogram, Feni, Netrakon, Rangpur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Chandpur, Barishal, Bogura, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Tangail and Manikganj districts. In Feni, huge standing crops and ‘kancha’ houses have been damaged at Fulgazi and Pashuram upazilas due to the onrush of hill waters from the upstream.

It is estimated that standing crops with vegetables on 3,000 hectare have been damaged. The major flood affected areas are: Saldar, Mali Pathor, Nilaghi, Darpara and Fulgazi Bazaar in Fulgazi upazila, and Ratanpur, Durgapur, Mirzanagor, Chitolia, Municipality in Parshuram Upazila. The Feni district administration informed that about 28,000 people have, so far, been marooned in two upzilas due to flood waters.

In Chandpur, the erosion by the Meghna River has intensified in Amtoli and Jaliarchar areas in Haimchar Upazila for the past few days, as the river is rising due to torrential rain across the country. The flood control and river bank protection embankment, built at a cost of Tk. 300 crore, is under severe threat. In Jamalpur, five villages of the district in Bakshiganj Upazila have been flooded due to torrential rain and upstream waters. The villages have been flooded due to breaching of the embankment constructed near the border of Dhanua Kamalpur union.

The Teesta and Dharla are flowing 5-7cm above the danger level at Duani and Kulaghat points, respectively. Dahagram of Patgram, Saniajan, Goddimari, Sirnduna, Patikapara, Dawabari, Singimari, Kaligan of Hatibandha, Bhotmari and Kakina of Kaliganj, Mohishkhocha of Aditmari and Khuniagach, Rajpur, Gokunda, Kulaghat and Mogholhat of Sadar upazila have been affected due to onrush of upstream waters.

In Gaibandha, the water level of Teesta, Brahmaputra, Jamuna, Karotoa and Ghagot are rising due to heavy rainfall and onrush of water from the upstream, creating serious erosion in many areas alongside the rivers. Many low-lying areas, including charlands of Sundarganj, Phuchori, Saghata and Sadar upazilas, are going under flood waters.

Belka, Tarapur, Haripur, Kapasia and Sripur in Sundarganj upazila, Kamarjani. Mollarchar and Phulchori in Gaibandha Sadar and Arendabari, Fazlupur, Kanchipara, Gazaria and Uria in Phulchori upazila have been flooded. In Rangamati, two persons were reportedly washed away by the current of Kaptai Lake’s water on Friday as a flash flood, triggered by incessant downpour for more than a week, inundated the entire Baghaichhari upazila of the district, leaving 250 families homeless and submerging 10 schools.

In Bandarban, road communication has been snapped since over the past one week due to the incessant downpour. Parts of the countryside and most of the areas of the hill town got inundated as water of Sangu River also crossed and is still flowing above the danger level, leaving hundreds of people homeless. The incessant rainfall is still continuing unabated.

Areas mostly affected due to the flash flood are Mogbazar, Ujanipara, Moidhompara, Meerpara, Kalaghata and Balaghata. In Khagrachhari, similar situation was also prevailing as flash flood inundated various areas. Road communications at some upazilas were disrupted due to damage of roads by landslides. According to the information of Bangladesh Meteorological Department and India Meteorological Department, there is chance of medium to heavy rainfall and in some places very heavy rainfall in the Northern, North-Eastern and South-Eastern part of Bangladesh along with adjoining Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya states of India in next 24 to 48 hours. Also medium to heavy rainfall may occur in North-West region and adjoining Bihar, West Bengal and Nepal.