3 million marooned, 26 killed as Bangladesh flood worsens

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:22, Jul 19,2019 | Updated: 00:41, Jul 19,2019


People wade through flood water following heavy monsoon rains in Gaibandha on Thursday. — AFP photo

With flooding turning worse in some northern and many central districts, Bangladesh Water Development Board in a special flood bulletin released Thursday afternoon said that the rivers Jamuna and Teesta just broke 40 years of water level records.

‘This is the highest level the Jamuna and the Teesta ever reached since we began keeping records of water levels of the country’s rivers four decades ago,’ said BWDB executive engineer Arifuzzaman Bhuyan.

On Wednesday, the Jamuna flowed 21.12 cms and 21.29 cms above the danger level at Bahadurabad and Fulchhari, a new record, said the BWDB in its flood bulletin.

The river set its previous water level record at Bahadurabad point by flowing 20.84 cms above the danger level two years ago.

At Fulchhari point, the previous water level record was set in 2016 when the Jamuna flowed 21.13 cms above the danger level.

The water level in the River Teesta set new record flowing 53.12 cms above the danger level at Dalia point on July 12. The previous water level record of 53.05 cms above the danger level at Dalia was set in 2017.

Ever since the new record was set, the water level at the Teesta kept falling, flowing 30 cms below the danger level until Thursday afternoon.

The Jamuna however might continue to swell over the next 24 hours until 9:00am Friday, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said in a bulletin Thursday afternoon.

Flooding might turn worse in Bogura, Sirajganj, Tangail, Manikganj, Faridpur and Munshiganj over the next 24 hours during the same time, the FFWC said.

Flood situation in Kurigram, Jamalpur and Gaibandha would remain unchanged over the same period of time, the FFWC said.

Weeklong heavy rains inside Bangladesh and in Assam, Meghalaya and other parts in the upstream in India and Nepal caused all major rivers in Bangladesh to swell rapidly and abnormally since the first week of July.

In 21 districts the rivers overflowed their banks or burst protection embankments swamping thousands of villages in 122 upazilas.

The government disaster report said that until Wednesday 3,247,454 people were marooned by flooding in 17 districts.

The rivers flowed with so much strength that it washed away or already damaged about 60,000 houses in 13 districts, according to government estimates.

The government estimate was not complete yet. Still it gave a hint of the havoc flooding wreaked in the affected districts.

Over 2,700 kms of roads were also damaged by the flooding in 13 districts.

Since Wednesday, floodwaters engulfed rail tracks in many places across Bangladesh, disrupting rail communication with many northern districts.

Strong current continued to disrupt ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia river crossing for the 2nd day in a row on Thursday, reported New Age correspondent in Manikganj.

Hundreds of people were stuck in traffic congestion on both sides of the river crossing as the Padma swelled rapidly and flowed with a violent force.

On Thursday, at least six people were killed after being drowned and suffering snake bites between Wednesday and Thursday at Tangail, Jamalpur, Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha, taking the death toll caused by flood related incidents to 26 so far.

Of the deceased, two sisters, Tanjila, 8, and Lima, 5, were drowned at Chardurgapur at Kalihati in Tangail on Thursday, reported New Age correspondent in Tangail.  

On Wednesday, two brothers aged around eight drowned in Jamalpur, a two-year-old girl in Lalmonirhat and a middle aged man died from snake bite in Gaibandha, according to health emergency control room.

New Age correspondent in Kurigram reported that more than half a million people were affected by flooding in the northern district, with many of them finding shelters on embankments.

A huge food and water crisis prevailed in the flood affected district.

New Age correspondent in Bogura reported that fresh areas went under water in the district on Thursday.

Aminul Islam, a resident of Shaluka village, said that he tried to protect his house by raising a mud wall but he did not envisage that water level would reach so high.

‘The mud wall was washed away at the blink of an eye,’ said Aminul.

Authorities closed down 79 educational institutions in Bogura on Thursday.

The FFWC said that 14 rivers were flowing above their danger levels at 25 points.

The FFWC recorded country’s highest rainfall of 82 mms until 9:00am Thursday at Ramgarh.

The Met Office recorded country’s highest rainfall of 100 mms at Sitakunda.

The Met Office said that Rangpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chattogram divisions may see light to moderate rains at many places over the next 24 hours till 6:00pm Friday.

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