Rivers show signs of major flood | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:00 AM, August 14, 2017

Rivers show signs of major flood

Water levels continue to rise amid heavy rain; 14 northern, northeastern dists already hit; 12 drown in floodwaters

Heavy rains and fresh onrush of water from upstream have raised the water levels of most of the rivers in the Meghna, Brahmaputra and Ganges basins, submerging most of the northern and northeastern parts of the country.

Over the next few days, the water levels will keep rising as India's northeastern states will see “heavy to very heavy” rains, according to Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of Bangladesh and Indian Met office.

Already, flash floods claimed lives of 12 people, including six children, in different districts yesterday.

Of the victims, seven including four children drowned in floodwater in Dinajpur, four including two children in Lalmonirhat and another in Joypurhat. Three of the kids in Dinajpur are from one family.

Most of them were moving to safe places by improvised rafts.

The water levels are on the rise in almost all the major rivers, and in the northern areas, some rivers have swelled to record levels. With tens of thousands marooned in at least 14 districts, many moved to safer places as their homes were inundated.

Experts warn that flooding might break previous records if rainfall continues in the upstream.

"The water levels of Jamuna and Meghna have already crossed the danger level. The Ganges is also swelling. The situation might worsen if downpours continue in the upstream," said hydrologist Prof Ainun Nishat.

“The situation can even get worse than what happened in the last 30 years," he added.

However, the FFWC says though the water level of the Jamuna (Brahmaputra in India) is increasing very fast, it's not very alarming yet as the Ganges is flowing two metres below the danger mark.

“Things get the worst when the water levels in all the three basins cross the danger mark simultaneously as in 1988,” Sazzad Hossain, executive engineer of FFWC, said yesterday.   

“Currently, the water level of Jamuna is increasing very fast and it will continue to rise over the next three days, but I think the situation will start improving after that," he added. 

In most of the affected areas, people are facing flood for the second time this season and in some areas of northeastern region for the third time.

Road and rail communications have got snapped in many places. Import and export at Burimari and Akhaura land ports were suspended yesterday as the offices concerned were flooded.

Most of the areas in northern districts, including Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Jamalpur, Bogra and Sunamganj, were inundated. The situation in Thakurgaon was improving as water started receding.

The Department of Disaster Management said so far 1,28,759 families were affected in 351 flood-hit unions. It opened 562 flood shelters where already 4,950 families took refuse.

The army was called in after the town protection dyke of Dinajpur was washed away yesterday morning following incessant rains for the last 48 hours. Besides, around 5,000,00 people remained marooned while around 7,000 clay houses reportedly collapsed in the district.

The river Purnarbhaba was flowing 0.74mm above danger level, according to the officials of Water Development Board in Dinajpur.

The flood situation in Lalmonirhat worsened yesterday as the Teesta, Dharla and eight other rivers were flowing above the danger level. 

As roads and rail tracks went under water, the road communications between Lalmonirhat and Burimari and train operations on Lalmonirhat-Burimari and Lalmonirhat-Teesta routes have remained suspended since yesterday morning.

Houses and crop fields in Dimla and Jaldhaka upazilas in Nilphamari went under about six-foot water as thousands moved to the Teesta embankment and schools and colleges.

People are suffering in the lack of food and drinking water.

Two unions in Sherpur Sadar and Nakla upazilas have been flooded by hill water and rains. Two schools announced closures as their buildings got submerged.

The flood situation in Sunamganj haor belt worsened yesterday as moderate rains and water flow from hills across the border raised water levels.

Abu Siddiqur Rahman, executive engineer of Water Development Board in Sunamganj, said the water level at different points of the Surma crossed the danger mark.

The Cholti, Patli and Jadukata rivers were flowing close to the danger mark.

Meanwhile, fodder crisis is forcing farmers to sell their cattle at much lower prices. More than 18,000 hectares of cropland were flooded in Sunamganj in the last two days.

Flood situation in Habiganj remained unchanged yesterday.

[Our Moulvibazar, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Nilphamari, Thakurgaon, Kurigram and Jamalpur correspondents contributed to this report]

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