Flood turns dozens of families homeless in Dhaka just ahead of Eid 

Emran Hossain | Published: 00:53, Jul 31,2020 | Updated: 22:42, Aug 01,2020


A woman feeds geese in front of her house inundated by floodwater at Char Sangrampur in Lauhajang of Munshiganj on Wednesday. — Sony Ramany

Dozens of families became homeless because of erosion in Dhaka and its adjacent districts as rivers in central Bangladesh continued swelling and flowing far above their danger marks until Thursday, just two days ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.

Experts fear that hundreds of people would go hungry even on the day of the largest Muslim religious festival as relief crisis  deepened in the country’s worst flood in two decades, affecting over five million people.

Rivers in the north such as Teesta and Dharla swelled again on Thursday amid heavy rains after receding very slowly in the past few days with forecasters warning that they might keep swelling till Saturday, the Eid day.

‘The Kaliganga flowing with massive force is bursting its banks in a number of places in Nawabganj,’ said HM Salauddin Monzu, upazila nirbahi officer, Nawabganj, Dhaka.

About 50 families lost their homes in Nawabganj in erosion caused by the River Kaliganga that flowed 111cm above its danger mark at Manikganj even though it subsided 7cm in the 24 hours until Thursday morning.

Monzu said that Nawabganj people did not experience such erosion in a decade or so.

Although the Kaliganga receded slightly, other rivers around Dhaka such as the Turag, Shitalakkhya, Balu, Tongi Khal and Bangshi swelled up to 10cm between Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

All the 14 unions in Nawabganj are more or less affected by the flood with about 20 per cent of their road networks badly damaged.

Vast areas remained under water in all five upazilas of Dhaka district because of a rapid rise in water levels of the rivers around Dhaka, particularly over the last two days.

The flood situation in Dhaka city corporations worsened as floodwaters encroached on more areas between Wednesday and Thursday.

Dhaka North City Corporation councillor at ward No 8 Abul Kashem Molla said that flooded streets severely disrupted road communication in parts of the ward.

He said that rains compounded the situation.

Flood already made a mess of internal road network in areas in eastern parts of the capital such as Khilgaon, Shabujbagh, Demra and Mugda, where the city corporation was yet to resume relief operations.

Relief supply is also scanty in the flood-hit upazilas in Dhaka where over a quarter million have been affected.

A Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre Bulletin said that situation might worsen in the flood-affected areas in Dhaka city corporations until Friday as rivers around Dhaka would continue to swell.

New Age correspondent in Lalmonirhat reported that 652 families were driven out of their homes between Wednesday and Thursday in eight districts in Rangpur division taking the total number of families rendered homeless by the flood in the division to 16,126.

At least 15,000 people were newly affected at Gangachara in Rangpur on Thursday after a portion of embankment on the River Teesta collapsed there.

‘Eid rarely brings joy to us. But this year is particularly worse because it comes at a time we are losing lives and property,’ said Rais Uddin, 66, a resident of Pirgachha, Rangpur, who is living on embankment after losing home.

Over 6 lakh people have become stranded in the eight districts of Rangpur division and over 50,000 people are living on embankments without enough to eat and drink.

‘Eid brings no joy when you and your children have to live on an embankment without any promise of help, and when you are not sure when will you be able to go back home,’ said Maleka Begum, who is living on the Dharla embankment with her six children.

New Age correspondent in Munshiganj reported that almost 38,000 families were affected by the flood in 261 villages in the district.

He said that acute relief and drinking water crisis gripped the people in the flood-affected areas.

Shariatpur district deputy commissioner Kazi Abu Taher told New Age that erosion continued more or less in all upazilas in his area.

He said that Naria, Shariatpur sadar and Bhaderganj were worst erosion-affected places in the district.

For over 5 million people affected by flooding in half of Bangladesh the government allocated only 13,010 tonnes of rice, over Tk 3,36 crore cash and 1.40 lakh packets of dry food.

A little over Tk 3 crore was spent for baby food and fodder, according to the disaster management and relief ministry.

The health emergency control room said that 129 people were killed because of flood-related causes since June 30.

The FFWC said that the Brahmaputra, Jamuna and Padma might continue to recede, though slowly, until Saturday.

The overall flood situation is unlikely to significantly improve until the 2nd week of August because of continued heavy rain upstream and inside Bangladesh, said FFWC.

Heavy rains were recorded between Wednesday and Thursday in many places in Assam and Meghalaya, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh.

India Meteorological Department predicted heavy rains in upstream until Saturday.

Heavy rains were also recorded inside Bangladesh, mainly in north-eastern part, between Wednesday and Thursday, with the country’s highest rainfall of 145mm recorded at Moheshkhola in Sylhet.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department predicted light to moderate rains in many places in Rangpur, Mymensingh, Chattogram and Sylhet until Friday morning.

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