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Bangladesh may lose 2,270 hectares of land to erosion

  • Published at 11:10 am July 9th, 2018
File Photo of River erosion Mehedi Hasan/ Dhaka Tribune

Riverbank erosion, one of the major natural disasters in Bangladesh, causes untold miseries every year to thousands of people living along the banks of the rivers

Bangladesh is projected to lose around 2,270 hectares of land this year due to riverbank erosion, a study report has said.

The erosion monitoring report done by Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (Cegis) also said that the land is comprised of agricultural, households, embankment and semi–government and government structures along the riverbank.

Cegis has predicted 22 probable vulnerable locations for this year along both banks of the Jamuna, the Ganges and the Padma rivers which are vulnerable to riverbank erosion. 

Of them, 15 locations are in the Jamuna, four are in the Ganges, and three in the Padma rivers. 

“We have been doing this erosion prediction report for the agencies responsible for river management. Actually, this is a kind of prediction for the authorities, which they can use to plan and design the riverbank protection measures,” said Dr Maminul Haque Sarker, deputy executive director of Cegis.

Riverbank erosion, one of the major natural disasters in Bangladesh, causes untold miseries every year to thousands of people living along the banks of the rivers of Bangladesh.

Bank erosion alone has rendered millions homeless and has become a severe social hazard. 

The riverbank erosion is predicted to occur in 11 districts situated along the banks of the major rivers. These are Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogra, Sirajganj, Tangail, Manikganj, Rajbari, Rajshahi, Faridpur, Shariatpur and Madaripur. 

The prediction is not only limited to the identification of vulnerable locations but also provides the information of the vulnerability of the land, settlement and other physical infrastructures of the predicted locations, he added.

Cegis has developed a unique tool using timelapse of satellite images to predict riverbank erosion in the Jamuna, the Ganges and the Padma rivers for the upcoming year. 

Since 2004, Cegis has been predicting riverbank erosion in the major rivers in Bangladesh with adequate accuracy in collaboration with the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB). 

In 2017, Cegis predicted for 29 locations out of which 20 are in the Jamuna, five in the Ganges and four in the Padma rivers.  

However, the results suggested that erosion occurred in 18 predicted locations in the Jamuna, four in the Ganges and three in the Padma rivers.

On the matter, Dr Maminul said:” Our observation shows that the overall accuracy of this prediction tool is approximately 70-80%”.

He also said that although there were a few locations where erosion occurred but was not predicted, and erosion did not occur in few locations where protective structures had been constructed before monsoon.

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