Submerged roads keep people marooned | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:56 AM, August 09, 2020

Submerged roads keep people marooned

Road communication in some districts has taken a hit as prolonged flooding has damaged a large portion of roads and bridges there.

For many flood-affected people, who are facing immense sufferings in those districts, boat is now the only mode of transport.

Meanwhile, a Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) report yesterday said although water of major rivers, including the Padma, the Jamuna, and the Brahmaputra, would continue to recede, 12 rivers were still flowing above the danger level.

Some 54.60 lakh people of 10.18 lakh families have been affected by flood in 163 upazilas of 33 districts since June last week, according to a recent report of the Department of Disaster Management.

In Sunamganj, an estimated 900km of road in all 11 upazilas have been damaged, as per the primary estimation of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED).

Among them, 24 roads have become impassable while at least 40 approach roads to bridges and culverts have been damaged by floodwater, said Mahbub Alam, executive engineer of LGED in the district.

Although the water was receding, work to repair the roads was yet to start. In some areas, locals took it upon themselves to do the repair work.

In Chhatak upazila's Sadar union, hundreds of locals started repairing Shyampara-Kandigaon road on Thursday.

Abdus Salam, a member of the union parishad, said, "Around 150 feet of the road was washed away by the flood, snapping communication between six villages.

"We raised around Tk 1 lakh and started repairing the road with bamboo frame, soil filling and bricks. Hundreds of locals are working as volunteers and we are hopeful of completing the work shortly."

The LGED officials have meanwhile been assessing the damage caused to the road.

In Kurigram and Lalmonirhat, 25km unpaved road, 9km paved road, a 4km flood control dyke and 44  bridges/culverts under the LGED, Roads and Highway Department (RHD) and Water Development Board (WDB) have been damaged by floodwater.

"The dyke was the only way to connect our village with other villages. As it has collapsed, we have no alternative ways to leave our village, except boats," said Meher Ali, 58, a farmer in flood-hit Sardob village of Kurigram Sadar.

Villagers now have to spend Tk 10 for each trip in boat to cross the water, which is an additional burden on them, he said.

"Around half a kilometre of a road was damaged by water from the Teesta river, and now the road is under water," said Idris Ali, 58, a farmer from Burirhat village in Lalmonirhat's Rajarhat upazila.

In Nilphamari, flood has badly affected communication as 20 bridges and culverts and 40km of road have been damaged.

"We have completed a rough assessment according to which the damage to roads, bridges and culverts stands around Tk 20 crore," said Saiful Islam senior assistant engineer of LGED at the district office.

Badiuzzaman Prodhan, chairman of Khokshabari union parishad in Sadar upazila, said, "A 15km road connecting tourist spot Nil Sagor with Bottoli Haat lies damaged for more than a month, causing communication disruption to 10 thousand people.

"The 150-metre-long Beltoli Bridge connecting Kishoreganj upazila of Nilphamari with Taraganj of Rangpur district has also been damaged at both ends, snapping communication," lamented Fazal Kadir, a school teacher in Kishoreganj upazila.

In Sirajganj, residents of Shuvogacha village in Kazipur upazila were dealing with a lot of trouble to reach the upazila headquarters as most of the earthen roads in the village have been damaged.

Around 53km of roads in the district have gone under floodwater. But how much of the roads have been damaged would be known after the water recedes, said Abdur Rahim, district relief and rehabilitation department.

The overall flood situation the district was improving slowly and the water level of the Jamuna came under the danger mark. But many people were still left marooned.

[Our correspondents in Sylhet, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari and Pabna contributed to the report.]


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