Possible flash flood threatens boro harvest in haor area

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:04, Apr 21,2020


Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre on Monday warned that flash floods predicted at the end of current week might swamp many boro fields in the north-eastern haor region hampering boro harvest.

‘The season’s first flash flood will not last more than a few hours but can leave many boro fields swamp in water,’ FFWC executive engineer Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan told New Age.

The floods are predicted on Thursday and Friday in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj, four of the seven north-eastern districts in the haor region.

Arif said that they had the arrangement for pumping out water only in a haor in Moulvibazar while the other vulnerable areas were not covered by any water drainage mechanisms.

‘Many farmers may suffer great loss if they fail to reap boro in water-logged fields fast,’ said Arif.

The haor region accounts for nearly a fifth of the country’s two crore tonnes of boro production, roughly half of which is usually ready to be harvested by April.

The other half of boro rice is not ready to harvest until May. The total boro acreage in the haor region is about 4.5 lakh hectares.

‘So far we reaped about 10 per cent boro cultivated in the haor region,’ said Department of Agriculture Extension director general Abdul Mueed.

‘The remaining days in the current month are very crucial for us,’ he said.

The harvest in the haor region had had a slow start this year with an acute shortage in the supply of farm hands because of restricted movement in the wake of coronavirus crisis.

The government took a number of initiatives to help complete the harvest fast still the farmers found them racing against time to protect their crops.

The Meteorology Office said that the haor region and its adjacent areas experienced scattered rains since the second week of April which will only increase in coming days.

‘The areas will see a significant increase in rains over five days from Thursday,’ said meteorologist Abdul Mannan.

On Monday, the Indian Met Office forecast widespread to fairly widespread rains over the northeast India and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim over the next four days.

On Friday, the FFWC predicted the haor region in Bangladesh and its adjacent Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura to receive up to 320 mm of rains in seven days until April 23.

While the rain might cause a rapid increase in the water levels in most of the major rivers, the Jadukata, Sarigowain, Manu and Khwai may overflow, predicted the FFWC. 

Water levels in 29 of the 39 rivers monitored by the FFWC in the last 24 hours ending at 9:00am on Monday rose, said a FFWC bulletin.

Flash floods decimated boro production in the country in 2010, 2012 and 2017.

The 2017 flash floods in March left a trail of destruction with vast areas of immature boro fields sunk in water. The government could hardly help farmers with the drainage of the stranded water.  

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