Flooding worsens as India opens barrage gates again

Emran Hossain with Rezaul Karim Manik in Lalmonirhat | Published: 00:57, Jul 05,2020 | Updated: 01:09, Jul 05,2020


Local people struggle to wade through onrushing floodwater that inundated a road in South Medinimandal of Lauhajang upazila in Munshiganj on Saturday. — Sony Ramany

For the third time in 15 days, the River Teesta overflowed its danger mark at Lalmonirhat, after India opened all 54 gates at Gazaldoba barrage on Saturday morning, worsening the flood situation in the north.

Parts of northern region have been under water for eight days as the Dharla and the Jamuna rivers flowed above the danger marks at a number of places at Kurigram, Gaibandha and Jamalpur.

The River Padma flowed above the danger level at three points as flood situation in central districts worsened as well.

‘About 59,000 families in 113 chars were affected after India opened all Gazaldoba barrage gates in the morning,’ said Water Development Board executive engineer Rabiu Islam.

After India opened barrage gates, 22,200 cusec water entered Bangladesh through the Teesta, which means flowing of more than 6 lakh litres of water every second.

It is typical of India to open Gazaldoba barrage gates during monsoon to release waters, often without warning Bangladesh.

It takes about two and a half hours for waters released from the Gazaldoba barrage to hit Bangladesh.

The Teesta, which remains dry for four months between October and January because of India withdrawing all the waters, is hardly in any shape to handle such a sudden rise in water pressure with its sand-silted river bed, said experts.

‘Rivers like Teesta are likely to cause severe erosion for when it gets suddenly swelled it could course through any area for it lacks a proper flowing channel,’ said AKM  Saiful Islam, who teaches at the Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET.

Cargo vessels anchored at Louhajong in Munshiganj on Saturday carry sand for the reconstruction of an embankment in the area damaged by floodwater from the swelled Padma. — Sony Ramany


WDB northern region chief Jyoti Prashad Ghosh said that the Teesta swallowed 250 acres land between Friday and Saturday, eroding 117 houses.

Moyez Uddin of Icli char, Gangachara, Lalmonirhat, lost his house twice in erosions since June 20.

‘I cannot take it anymore. How many times do you think you have the strength to rebuild your home,’ said Moyez, who lost his house and 17 decimal land since Friday.

In the last ten years, Moyez lost his home to erosion five times.

There are many others whose fate matches that of Moyez while there are more who would soon join their ranks.

The WDB on Saturday afternoon warned people living in Sundarganj, Gaibandha; Chilmari and Rajarhat in Kurigram, and Kaunia in Rangpur to evacuate immediately for the Teesta and the Jamuna were to swell further.

A Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre bulletin said that the flood situation in Rajbari, Manikganj, Dhaka, Munshiganj, Shariatpur and Faridpur may remain unchanged.

The FFWC said that eight rivers were flowing above the danger mark at 17 points with the Jamuna and its tributaries flowing above the danger levels at eight places.

The swelling Jamuna wreaked havoc in Tangail with its Bhuiyanpur upazila vastly inundated and eroded, reported New Age correspondent in Tangail.

The flood-affected people in the area suffered because they have very little to eat.

Vast cropland was also destroyed by the floods that began on June 27.

The FFWC predicted the floods to intensify further and linger for the next three weeks because of heavy rains in the upstream.

Floods during monsoon is very common in Bangladesh for it drains almost all of 1.7 million square kilometres in Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna basins spanning India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

People in Bangladesh, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta, have learned to live with floods for long but lately they found it difficult to predict floods with dams and barrages built upstream which block the natural flow of water.

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