Thursday, August 17, 2017 | ePaper

Floods turn worse

India opens up 44 sluice gates to divert excess Teesta water to Bangladesh: Lakhs of people marooned

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Northeastern districts being inundated with fresh flood due to incessant rains and onrush of hilly waters. This photo was taken from Habiganj on Saturday.

Staff Reporter :
Floods triggered by heavy rainfall and onrush of water from the upstream wrecked havoc in most of the Jamalpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat, Sunamganj and Brahmanbaria districts on Saturday.       
Following opening of 44 sluice gates at Gajaldoba Barrage, water level at Dalia point of the Teesta River in Bangladesh is about to cross the danger level.
India has unilaterally opened most of sluice gates at Gajaldoba Barrage in the upstream of Bangladesh leaving the lower riparian country into the great danger of flood.
Consequently, erosions in the rivers of Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and other northern district have also been taking place.
Meanwhile, the floodwaters have destroyed houses, washed away crops and damaged fisheries in the districts affecting lakhs of people. The people were suffering from scarcity of pure drinking water, sanitation, food and shelters, witnesses said.
The floods also inundated thousands of houses, leaving families without food and shelter. Flood victims are either displaced or are taking shelters at their relatives' houses.
People in the flood-hit districts have been going through immeasurable sufferings for lack of adequate food and safe water.
Besides, the floodwaters have inundated fresh areas of the districts, halting academic activities at hundreds of educational institutions.
Apart from these, the shuttle rail communication on Thakurgaon and Pachagarh route was suspended as flood waters were flowing over the rail tracks in different places due to heavy rains, a railway ministry release said on Saturday.
Train communication will be resumed after receding floodwater from rail tracks and completion of repair works there, it added.
In Jamalpur, the flood situation deteriorated on Saturday as the water level in the Jamuna River rose further.
Abdul Mannan, an official of Water Development Board said all most all lowlying areas in Islampur and Dewanganj went under water.
"Floodwaters destroyed most of the crop fields, including newly planted Aman paddy and vegetables in the districts. The Jamuna is now flowing 11cm above the danger level at the Bahadurabad Ghat point until 12:00 noon on Saturday," he told journalists yesterday.
Besides, many educational institutions, including primary schools and colleges, remained shut as floodwaters entered classrooms.
Thousands of people were marooned in floodwater in Kurigram and Lalmonirhat districts due to the rise of water level of the Dharala and Teesta following heavy downpour and onrush of water from upstream hilly areas.
In Lalmonirhat, more than fifty thousand people of five upazilas and shoal areas of Teesta and Dharala were trapped in floodwater.
Ratan Kumar Sarker, assistant engineer of Lalmonirhat Water Development Board, said the water level of Teesta River is flowing 20 centimetres above the danger level at Dalia point while Dharala water is flowing 41 centimetres above danger mark.
Embankment at Boomka in village Itaputa area of sadar upazila broke down due to strong current and of the water.
In Kurigram, the overall flood situation has further deteriorated as new areas are going under water due to the increase of water levels of Teesta and Dharala on Saturday.
The water level of Dharala River is flowing 22cm above the danger level at Chilmari point.
More than one lakh people of over 150 villages of Fulbari, Rajarhat, Nageswari, Ulipur, Chilmari, Roumari, Rajibpur and Sadar upazilas have become marooned.
Scarcity of food and pure water has become acute in the flood-affected areas and normal life is being hampered as many roads went under water. People are facing acute shortage of food and drinking water there.
According to locals, waterborne diseases were spreading fast in the flood-hit areas while no relief or medicine reached yet.
At least 80 educational institutes were shut down following the flood, said the locals, adding that hundreds of hectares of cropland were inundated.
In Gaibandha, water level in all the major rivers flowing through the district rose sharply on Saturday due to incessant rain and onrush of hilly water from the upstream.
Bangladesh Water Development Board office sources said the water level of the Brahmaputra increased by 60 cm, the Teesta by 46 cm, Karotoa by 90 cm and the Ghagot by 63 cm during the period.
The Brahmaputra at Fulchharighat point was flowing 28 cm, the Teesta at Sundarganj point 75 cm. the Karotoa at Katakhali point 134 cm and the Ghagot at New Bridge Road point 48 cm below their respective danger levels.
With the rise of water level in the rivers, the low lying areas of the chars and the Brahmaputra river basin under Sundarganj, Sadar, Fulchhari and Shaghata have been inundated making the chars and river basin people worried.
M. Mahbubur Rahman, executive engineer of BWDB, said 251 mm rainfall was recorded in last three days till Saturday and if the rivers Brahmaputra and Ghagot continued to mark rise due to rain, the rivers would cross thie danger level very soon.
Deputy Commissioner Gautam Chandra Pal said they were watching the situation closely and always keeping communication with the local public representatives, elite, and journalists about the flood situation.
In Sunamganj, the flood situation in the district has worsened as heavy rainfall and onrush of water from the upstream submerged new areas since Friday.
The examinations of 893 primary schools have been suspended due to floodwaters.
Floodwaters started entering the Shologhor, Nabinagar, Dharagaon, Westbazar, Midbazar and North Arpinagar area of the district town.
The water level in the area marked an unusual rise due to incessant rain for the last few days and water rolling down from the areas, locals said.
In Brahmanbaria, the flood situation of the district worsened as many fresh villages of Akhaura upazila were submerged as the embankment of the river Haora in India collapsed on Friday.  
At least 2000 people were marooned in area. Their crops, houses, vegetables and fisheries have been washed away by the floodwaters.     
Water levels at 81 river stations monitored by the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) have marked increase while six stations recorded fall.
Among the 90 monitored water level stations, two stations have been registered steady and 17 river stations were recorded flowing above danger level, a bulletin issued by the FFWC said on Saturday.
The Brahmaputra-Jamuna, Ganges-Padma and Surma-Kushiyara are on rising trend.
A total of 168 millimetres (mm) rainfall was recorded at Bhairab Bazar, 155.5 mm at Narayanhat, 150 mm at Lorergarh, 140 mm at Panchagarh, 132 mm at Dalia, 125 mm at Sunamganj, 116.3 mm at Ramgarh, 105.6 mm at Narsingdi, 103 mm at Brahmanbaria, 85.7 mm at Panchpukuria, 70 mm at Bogra, 69 mm at Chilmari, 64 mm at Sylhet, 61 mm at Gaibandha, 59 mm at Barguna, 55.8 mm at Teknaf, 50 mm at Rangpur and 50mm at Dewanganj during the last 24 hours ending Saturday.
Due to active monsoon, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at places in Rangpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Dhaka, Sylhet, and Chittagong divisions today (Sunday).
Due to heavy to very heavy rainfall, landslide may occur at places in the hilly regions of Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, a Met Office weather bulletin said.

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