• Friday, Jan 27, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

UN fears half of Bangladesh may face more floods

  • Published at 04:29 pm July 19th, 2020
Locals, whose houses were left inundated, wade through knee-deep floodwater in Kurigram <strong>Dhaka Tribune</strong>
File photo: Locals, whose houses were left inundated, wade through knee-deep floodwater in Kurigram Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh Meteorological Department predicts heavy rains

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that half of Bangladesh will be affected by worsening floods in the coming days.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) and Flood Forecast and Warning Center (FFWC) have echoed the concerns voiced in OCHA’s situation report on Asia Pacific humanitarian efforts on July 17. Both BMD and the FFWC predict heavy rains in the next few days.

Some areas of Dhaka, near Badda, have already become flooded. FFWC says the flood waters came through canals and sewerage lines of the Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka WASA) that are connected to surrounding rivers.

In some districts, such as Netrokona and Naogaon, people have started leaving shelter centers as the water level of various rivers was decreasing. However, BMD and FFWC warn that more rainfall in the next few days may cause the floods to worsen again.

Arifuzzaman Bhuyan, executive engineer of FFWC, said: “From Monday, the water level will start rising again, which may continue till July 25-26. This rise of water levels will inundate different parts of the country and then start decreasing again. No heavy rainfall is expected after July 25-26.”   

BMD Meteorologist Abdul Mannan said: “Rainfall upstream and in northern districts of the country has increased compared to the last three days. The increased rainfall may continue for the next three days. 

“Rangpur, Rajshahi , Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chittagong will face heavy rainfall in the next three days,” he added. 

Mannan continued: “As the rainfall has been increasing, the rivers will get more water. The water from rainfall in Assam does not flow down Bangladesh’s rivers the same day. Some time is needed for the water to flow down the rivers. As a result, the water level may rise even after it stops raining.” 

At 9am yesterday, BMD said in a weather forecast that light to moderate rain/thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty winds are likely to occur at most places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, Chattogram & Sylhet divisions, at many places over Rajshahi and Barishal divisions, and at a few places over Dhaka and Khulna divisions. 

Six districts still reeling from previous floods

In Tangail, around 150,000 people are still marooned as the Dhaleshwari, and Jhenai Rivers are still flowing above danger level.

The Dhaleshwari River is flowing 152cm above the danger level while the Jhenai River is flowing 90cm above its danger level, according to the Water Development Board (WDB).

In Madaripur, 15,000 residents of char areas in Sibchar upazila are stranded by floodwaters, as the water level of the Jamuna River continues to swell.

Hundreds of houses, roads, schools and colleges have been submerged and people affected by the floods are suffering a shortage of drinking water, food and sanitation facilities.

Shibchar upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Asaduzzaman said the authorities were trying to help flood victims by providing dry food and safe drinking water. 

The WDB has been dumping geo-bags to prevent river erosion, he added.

In Jamalpur, although  the Jamuna River has been receding over the past couple of days, the overall situation has worsened and at least 900,000 people remain marooned. 

The Jamuna was flowing 105cm over the danger line at Bahdurabad Ghat point in Jamalpur at 6pm on Saturday, declining 24cm from the day before, according to Md Abu Sayeed, executive engineer of  WDB.

People of at least 50 villages in Dewangonj, Islampur, Bokshiganj and Jamalpur Sadar have fallen victim to flooding.

In Naogaon, 4194 hectares of cropland went underwater as flood protection embankments collapsed due to the strong currents of the Atarai and Jumuna Rivers, said the Agricultural Extension Department (DAE).

Movement of heavy vehicles through Atrai-Naogaon, Atrai-Bandhaikhara, Atrai-Kaliganj, and Atrai-Singra has been suspended temporarily by the authorities.

In Kurigram, river erosion coupled with incessant rainfall has millions of people in the district suffering. 

Many villagers have already left their homes and are living in temporary shelters or wrapped in polythene on government roads, dykes and in other safe places with their livestock and essentials.

Kurigram Water Development (WDB) Executive Engineer Md Ariful Islam said the floods may worsen further in the next three or four days.

In Pabna, the  Jamuna River rose at various points while shortages of food and drinking water hit thousands of people hard.

The District WDB is working on tackling river erosion, as many houses on the river banks have been devoured by the floods.

Ministry of Disaster management : No crisis of relief and humanitarian aid 

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief  did not open any shelters in Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Tangail and Rajbari, although all these districts have been affected by the floods.  

Shah Muhammad Nasim, additional secretary (NDRCC and media), Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, said: “In some districts, the flooding is not severe and people in those districts do not want to go to shelters as they have cattle and other valuables at their homes. The government will arrange shelters, if needed.

“There is no lack of effort on the part of the ministry in terms of relief and other help for people affected (by the floods),” he added. 

Our correspondents Ariful Islam, Kurigram, Emroz Khondoker Bappi, Pabna, Monjur Hossain, Madaripur, Abdur Rouf Pavel, Naogaon, Biswajit Deb, Jamalpur, and Abdullah Al Numan, Tangail contributed to this report.

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