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Flood situation: Hundreds of thousands marooned in northern districts

  • Published at 04:28 pm July 3rd, 2020
flood situation
An aerial view shows submerged houses at a flooded area at Sonatola in the northern district of Bogra. Courtesy Touhid Pervez Biplob

Not enough relief material for distribution, says UP chairmen

Hundreds and thousands of people in the northern districts of the country have been marooned as water levels remain above the danger level.

The flood situation remained mostly steady with little ups and downs in water levels of major rivers during the last 24 hours ending at 9am yesterday in the seven districts of the Brahmaputra basin.

However, this gives little respite to villagers who are out of food, fresh water, and shelter.

More than 50,000 people in Kurigram have been living barely on dry food for the last week, and spending nights under the open sky.

Sadar Upazila Pachgachi Union Parishad Chairman Delowar Hossain told Dhaka Tribune that his union has been underwater for some time now. Although the floodwaters are receding, over 4,000 people are without roofs over their heads.

However, he said that food rations were provided to him for distribution to 400 families only.

Jatrapur UP Chairman Ayub Ali shared a similar experience. He said that only four tons of rice were provided for distribution which was not nearly enough. Similar allegations arose throughout the district.

Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) officials said that water levels of major rivers continue receding at a slower rate amid monsoon rainfall and some increase in onrushing water from the upstream during the period in the basin.

According to BWDB’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), the rainfall during the last 24 hours till 9am at different points were recorded at 160mm in Gaibandha, 132mm in Kurigram, 105mm in Dalia, 95mm in Chilmari and 80.50mm in Thakurgaon.

Besides, the rainfall was recorded at 80mm in Pasighat, 78mm in Gangtok and 55mm in Cherrapunji points in the upper catchment areas in the northwestern Indian states during the period.

However, water levels of the Brahmaputra-Jamuna river system may continue to recede at a slower rate during the next 72 hours while Dharla and Teesta rise during the next 24 hours.

The overall flood situation may remain steady in Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogura, Jamalpur, and Sirajganj districts during the next 24 hours in the Brahmaputra basin.

BWDB officials said the major rivers were flowing above the danger marks at nine points of Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Bogra, and Sirajganj districts at 9am yesterday despite continuous fall in their water levels at most points during the last 24 hours.

The Brahmaputra was flowing 41cm above the danger level at Noonkhawa and 46cm above at Chilmari while Dharla was at 49cm above the danger marks at Kurigram and Ghagot 31cm above at Gaibandha points last morning.

The Jamuna was flowing 70cm above the danger level at Fulchhari, 74cm above at Bahadurabad, 60cm at Sariakandi, 64cm at Kazipur and 46cm at Sirajganj points at 9am yesterday.

In Rajbari, Padma is flowing 44cm above the danger level at Goalundo point.

Floodwaters are rising in villages under Lalgola, Mahadevpur, and Urakanda unions of Sadar upazila, and Daulatdia and Debagram unions of Goalundo upazila.

Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) Daulatdia point gauge reader Idris Ali said that the water level further increased by 6cm over the last 24 hours, which is still above the danger level by 44cm.

In Gaibandha, although the water levels of Brahmaputra, Ghaghat and Karatia rivers were receding by a few centimetres in the last three to four days, Teesta has been on the rise since yesterday leading to fears of worsening flooding among locals.

Teesta River rose by 18cm yesterday, but was still flowing below danger level, said Moklechur Rahman, District WBD official.

However, the fall in water level in other places showed river erosion in Saghata Upazila.

400,000 marooned in Jamalpur

In Jamalpur, the flood situation remained unchanged over the last 24 hours. About 400,000 villagers remain marooned. 

Jamuna River’s water level went down by 5cm over the last 24 hours but is still above danger level by 74cm.

BWDB official Abdul Mannan confirmed the matter to our district correspondent.

Shiduli union of Madarganj upazila has flooded recently. A total of seven upazilas and 43 unions have been flooded.

Ten thousand hectares of croplands are underwater said Aminul Islam, Deputy Director, District Agriculture Department.

Dr Pranay Kanti Das, the civil surgeon of Jamalpur, said 80 teams are working to treat the villagers.

District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer, Mohammad Nayeb Ali said the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) Office has distributed 60-ton rice and Tk5 lakh to the villagers.

In Dinajpur, rainfall since Thursday midnight and early Friday has led to the rise in the water level of all rivers which are now flowing dangerously close to the danger level.

Punarbhaba, Atrai, and Ichamati rivers are now just a few decimal points below the danger level, said BWDB officials.

Over 120,000 people marooned in Tangail

Around 124,000 villagers are waterlogged in 101 villages and 3,631 hectares of croplands are submerged in floodwaters in Tangail.

The water level of the Jamuna, Jhinai, and Dhaleshwari rivers were above the danger line by 45cm, 48cm, and 88cm respectively, yesterday.

District Water Development Board (WDB) Deputy Assistant Engineer Rezaul Karim said the water level of the rivers will rise further in the days to come.

According to district Relief and Rehabilitation office sources, the rising waters have flooded 101 villages in 21 unions of Sadar, Nagarpur, Delduar, Bhuapur, Kalihati, and Gopalpur upazilas.

The homes of 532 families and a school have been washed away by the rivers and 147sq/km of land in these six upazilas are flooded.

Roads, communication cut off

The ongoing flood has damaged and inundated different points of around 150km of road, bringing road communication between Tahirpur, Bishwambarpur, Dowarabazar and Jamalpur upazilas in Sunamganj to a halt.

Mahbub Alam, the executive engineer of Sunamganj Local Government Engineering Department, said: "We have visited few of the damaged spots. The repair work will start soon."

Flood water began to recede from houses and the Water Development Board recorded 11mm of rainfall in the district in the last 24 hours until around 10:30am.

Yesterday, the Surma River in Sunamganj point was reported to be flowing three centimetres below the danger mark.

Our district correspondents Ariful Islam Rigan-Kurigram, Tazul lsam Reza-Gaibandha, Bishwajit Deb-Jamalpur, Kazi Tanvir Mahmud-Rajbari, Abdullah Al Numan-Tangail, Faruk Hossain-Dinajpur, and Himadri Sekhar Bhadra-Sunamganj, contributed to this report.

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