Major rivers continued to rise across the country amid predictions of heavy downpours to deteriorate the situation, prompting authorities to intensify measures to combat a major flooding.
The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) in its latest bulletin this afternoon said all the major rivers “are in rising trend” excepting the Surma in southeastern Sylhet region but it could start rising again depending on rainfalls.
“The rain-fed rivers in all the four main basins of Meghna, Brahmaputra, Ganges – covering the northeastern, northern, northwestern and central Bangladesh — are on the verge of surpassing their bank lines at different places,” an FFWC spokesman said.
He added the rising trend of rivers in Brahmaputra and Meghna basins including the Dharla, Kangsha, Surma and Kushiyara appeared “rapid” which were likely to submerge floodplains in greater Sylhet and greater Rangpur in next 24 hours.
Out of 93 river monitoring points across the country, water levels in 25 points exceeded the danger marks so far, FFWC said.
“Until now the situation has not become alarming, but we are getting ready to face a major deluge,” state minister for disaster management and relief Dr Enamur Rahman told BSS.
But he added the number of affected districts overnight stood at 15 while the figure was 10 yesterday as flood hit five fresh ones including some in central parts of the country.
Rahman said the 10 affected districts each by now received 500 tonnes of rice and 4,000 relief packs including edible oil, noodles, pressed rice (chira), sugar, flour, salt, candles, matchboxes and rice.
“We held inter-ministerial meetings . . . besides the ministries, the armed forces and Red Crescent and scouts mobilized 24 lakh people to stand by the affected people,” he said.
Rahman, however, said the 176 flood shelters appeared inadequate for sheltering the possible deluge victims and therefore his ministry sent to 15 vulnerable districts 7,500 tents, each of which could accommodate 20 people.
Health ministry’s flood control room today reported 11 deaths since July 10, saying six of them drowned while lightening killed three and snakebites two.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said his ministry was prepared with 1,368 medical teams and adequate drugs including IV fluids, water purification tablets, anti snake venoms, oral saline which were stored centrally in Dhaka and at upazila levels.
The met office, meanwhile, largely substantiated the FFWC predictions of near simultaneous further rise of rivers.
Meteorologists said they tallied their data with met office in upstream India which suggested widespread “medium to heavy rainfall” and “very heavy rainfall” in northern, north-eastern Bangladesh alongside adjoining Assam and Meghalaya states in next 24 to 48 hours.
They said there were chances of medium to heavy rainfall in India’s Bihar and Nepal adjacent to Bangladesh’s north-western region to inflate further the common streams.
The FFWC said the Brahmaputra-Jamuna and Ganges-Padma rivers were likely to rise further in the next 72 hours and the Jamuna River at Sirajganj “may cross danger level in next 24 hours”.
“Flood situation in Netrokona, Sunamganj, Sylhet, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Jamalpur, Gaibandha, Bogra and Sirajganj districts may deteriorate in next 24 hours,” the centre warned.
The bulletin, however, expected the water level to recede in Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban districts in the coming hours.