Farmers bore the brunt of the first spell of monsoon floods that continued to inundate fresh areas for the fourth consecutive day until Tuesday.
Parts of Rajbari and Tangail districts went under water since Monday night as the River Padma and the tributaries of the River Jamuna crossed their danger marks at three new places.
The five northern districts that emerged as worst hit by the floods already had crops on 13,642 hectares almost completely destroyed, reported New Age correspondent in Lalmonirhat.
A comprehensive picture of the damages caused by the floods to the agriculture sector would take a while to come by as new areas were affected with the deluge moving downstream.
‘Crops cultivated on 6,658 hectares by the country’s poorest farmers got completely destroyed,’ Mustafizur Rahman Prodhan, deputy director, Department of Agricultural Extension, Kurigram, told New Age.
The floods destroyed Aman seedbed on 6,212 hectares of land, nearly a fourth of the areas Aman seeds were grown in the five flood-hit northern districts — Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Rangpur.
The widespread destruction of the seedbed is reminiscent of last year’s losses caused to Aman rice cultivation in the district.
Last year, farmers faced a huge aman seed shortage after floods ruined seedbeds in the districts. The DAE could not fulfil its aman acreage target, with 1,00,000 hectares land staying unused because of the seed crisis.
‘I don’t have any words to console the affected farmers for they lost their crops in a similar flood last year,’ said Abul Hossain, chairman, Hatiar Char union parishad, Ulipur, Kurigram.
About 90 per cent of his char remained submerged in flood waters until Tuesday as the Dharla still flowed half a meter over the danger level.
The other crops hit by the floods included nuts, sesame, jute, maize, aush and maize.
Sesame farmers were about to reap their harvest in two weeks when heavy rains triggered the deluge in the northern Bangladesh on Saturday.
‘I invested Tk 60,000 in cultivating sesame on five bighas but lost everything,’ said Aslam Mia, at Goddimari of Hatibandha in Lalmonirhat.
Vegetables cultivation was also affected by floods and spiny gourd and chilli were badly affected.
‘I don’t know how to survive after getting affected by disasters, one after another,’ said Korban Ali, a vegetable farmer at Ulipur.
Rangpur divisional commissioner KM Tariqul Islam said that they were unable to help the poor farmers immediately but wrote to higher authorities about their plights.
‘We can only help them with dry food at the moment,’ he said.
Some damages the floods caused to some farmers in the north may be irreparable.
Rafiqul Islam, a farmer at Kaunia, Rangpur, had much of his 1.5 bigha nut field eroded as the Teesta and Dharla flooded twice in the last ten days.
Water Development Board’s northern region chief Jyoti Prashad Ghosh said that 153 houses were eroded in the Rangpur division since Monday.
A FFWC bulletin showed that the rivers were receding at some points in the northern region, though the Dharla, Ghaghat and the Jamuna still flowed above the danger level at several points.
Eight rivers still flowed over their danger mark at 15 points across Bangladesh with the FFWC predicting that the flood situation in Bogura, Sirajganj, Jamalpur and Tangail would remain unchanged.
The River Surma was also receding in the north-eastern region, though it overflowed banks at least in three areas until Tuesday afternoon.
New Age correspondent in Sylhet reported that aman seedbed on more than 2,600 hectares was damaged in the district and in Sunamganj.
Aush cultivated on 5,800 hectares also got destroyed by floods in Sylhet.
New Age correspondent in Tangail reported that vast crop fields in the char areas got submerged since Monday and nearly 600 houses were lost to erosion in Bhuyanpur, Nagarpur and Tangail.
Over 50,000 people were marooned in the district as the Jamuna flowed 50 cm above the danger level at Elashin.
New Age correspondent in Sirajganj reported that vast crop fields at Sirajganj sadar, Kazipur, Shahjadpur, Ullahpara and Chouhali were submerged in flood waters.
New Age correspondent in Kurigram reported that flood waters destroyed 37 km dirt track and nearly 30 km embankment in the district.
The FFWC said that rivers in Meghna basin may keep receding until Thursday morning.
The rivers in the Ganges basin are likely to keep swelling during the same time while the Jamuna might become steady, said the FFWC.
India Meteorology Department forecast fairly widespread to widespread rain in the upstream areas such as Assam and Meghalaya, West Bengal and Sikkim, Gangetic West Bengal, Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh through Saturday.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department predicted light to moderate rain at many places in Rangpur, Mymensingh and Chattogram divisions until 9:00 am on Wednesday.
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