Nearly 60,000 families in the various districts and upazilas of Rajshahi division are waterlogged
Water levels on the Padma River in Rajshahi have been rapidly rising since the beginning of August, flooding low-lying areas and damaging houses and crops.
According to the Rajshahi Water Development Board, the water level on the Padma at Rajshahi district was just 79 cm below the danger level as of Wednesday morning.
According to the water development authorities, the water level at the ’88 Rampura-Boalia,Rajshahi’ station on Tuesday morning was 17.59 metres and increased by 4 cm in the afternoon, rising to 17.63 cm.
At 6am on Wednesday, the water level rose to 17.70 cm. By 12 pm it was 17.71 cm, 17.72 at 3pm and 17.74 at 6 pm. Padma’s danger level at the district is 18.50 cm.
Rajshahi Water Development Board Hydrology Department Gauge Reader Enamul Haque says that water levels have risen due to heavy downpour and predicts the level to rise throughout August.
The rise in the Padma basin has led to those living in the low-lying areas on the river bank to seek shelter elsewhere as their homes have been flooded.
As many as 2,000 families in the city are waterlogged, says Rajshahi City Corporation ward 24 councilor Arman Ali.
Meanwhile, in Bagha upazila, nearly 3,500 families living in the 15 chars in Chakrajpur union are waterlogged without any access to food or relief. Around 300 families have taken shelter at Chakrajpur Primary School.
These families, who primarily make a living out of farming or fishing, are in troubled waters, not being able to move with their homes being underwater.
“I live with my wife and two sons in two houses on rented land. We are in a difficult situation now with the livestock,” says Sabirul Islam, who lives on one of the chars, Diarkadipur.
He is not the only one. Several families who live on farming or fishing no longer have a source of income.
According to Chokrajapur Union Parishad Chairman Azizul Alam, no government or non-government relief has reached the families. “We have informed the UNO.”
Bagha Upazila Nirbahi Officer Papia Sultana confirmed that while no relief had reached the families, the authorities had been informed about their predicament.
On the other hand, Rajshahi Relief and Repatriation employee Aminul Haque said that 10 metric tonnes of rice had been distributed among people in Bagha and Godagari districts.
He added that the UNO is preparing a list of those who suffered damages in the flood.
Meanwhile, water levels on the Jamuna, Dhaleshwari and Jhinai in Tangail continue to rise due to heavy rain and onrush of water from upstream.
Sirajganj Water Development Board employee Rezaul Karim said on Wednesday that the rising water levels had ruined crops and damaged homes.
He said that in the last 24 hours, the water level at Jamuna rose 23 centimetres and was 106 cm below the danger line. The Dhaleshwari rose 26 cm and was 78 cm below the danger line while the Jhinai rose 25 cm and was 56 cm below the danger line.
Karim said due to increasing water levels, river erosion had also affected many villages. “Geo bags have been dispatched to those areas.”
Earlier, on Tuesday, the Jamuna’s water level at Sirajganj’s Hardpoint was 12.34 cm and at Kazipur point was 13.64 cm.
According to the Water Development Board’s Sirajganj office, the water level started to rise on August 4 but receded on August 8. Since then, it has remained mostly stable. However, it started rising rapidly on August 14.
The board’s Sirajganj Sub Divisional Engineer, Md Nasir Uddin, said that while a flood forecast had alerted people to a rise in the water level, no floods in the areas had yet been predicted.
At least 50,000 families in Chapainawabganj and Shibganj upazila are waterlogged and crops and vegetables over 182 acres of land destroyed after the low lying areas were flooded.
In the last 24 hours, the water level in Padma at Chapainawabganj has risen by 10 cm while the Mahananda had risen by 11 cm, said district Executive Engineer Mehedi Hassan.
He said that the rising water levels had also set into motion river erosion which displaced thousands of people every year during floods.
Lawmaker Ferdousi Islam Jessy visited the areas and assured that a permanent solution for river erosion wouldbe sought.
Among the 50,000 families, 17,000 families are in Shibganj upazila who are currently receiving help from the local administration.
On Wednesday, Chapainawabganj Deputy Commissioner Manjurul Hafiz along with Shibganj UNO Sakib Al Rabbi and three others visited Paka union and distributed relief items, including rice, dry food packets and 6,000 water purifying tablets among 400 families.
On Monday and Tuesday, lawmaker Dr Shamil Uddin Ahmed Shimul distributed relief among 400 families.
Water Development Board Sub Divisional Engineer Moyez Uddin said that the water level on Padma was 32 centimetres, below danger level, and was expected to recede over the next couple of days.