District Administrations evacuates 490 families at risk of landslide in different areas
A record rainfall has caused unprecedented inundation in Chittagong city, causing immense suffering to the citizens and disrupting normal city life along with vehicular movement.
According to the Patenga Met Office, 229.4 mm rainfall was recorded in the last 24 hours, till 3pm Monday.
The low-lying parts of the port city were submerged in knee-deep to waist-deep water leaving city dwellers stranded.
The city has been experiencing heavy precipitation accompanied by squally wind since Sunday.
The Patenga Met Office warned that the torrential rain might also trigger landslide in some parts of the city.
Many low-lying areas of the city including Sholoshohor Gate No 2, Agrabad, Prabartak Circle, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Shulakbahar, Bahaddarhat, Pahartali, Kalamia Bazar, Kalurghat, Chandgaon and Bakalia went under knee-deep to waist-deep water after the heavy rains.
The commuters, including office-goers, students and apparel factory workers, immensely suffered due to the incessant downpour.
The water also inundated many residential houses and business firms in the low-lying areas, leaving people marooned.
Motor vehicles had stopped moving in waterlogged areas while many of those were seen stuck after their engines stopped in knee-deep water.
Unlike other cities in the country, Chittagong is gifted with a natural drainage system, having a long network of canals, to drain out storm water to the rivers and the Bay of Bengal.
However, nearly a third of the city goes underwater every monsoon as its southern part gets inundated during high tides even with no rainfall.
City planners blame unplanned urbanization, illegal refilling and encroachment of canals and drains for obstructing the free flow of water.
All sorts of solid wastes worsen the situation, especially in the rainy season, they said.
Moreover, due to indiscriminate hill cutting in the city, soil is washed down with rainwater and fills drains and nearby water bodies, causing water stagnation.
The Chittagong District Administration on Monday also moved a total of 490 families living at risk of landslides to safer places to avoid casualties.
The administration coordinated the evacuation with the Fire Service and Civil Defence and the city corporation, apart from other related organizations.
Md Delwar Hossain, additional deputy commissioner (revenue), told the Dhaka Tribune that they conducted drives and evacuated these families from nine hills in the city as a precaution.
The areas from where the families were moved are Motijhorna, Porapahar, Amin Jute Mill, Tangkir Pahar, Miar Pahar, Khulshi Pahar, Jalalabad Pahar, Akbar Shah Pahar and adjacent areas to these hills.
Delwar said they also demolished 140 risky makeshift houses on the hill slopes which were found under lock and key.
The District Administration has also set up seven shelters for the evacuees, he added.
According to the administration, there are 28 hills in the district, under different government, autonomous and private organizations, including Bangladesh Railway, Public Works Department, Chittagong Wasa, and the city corporation, which fall under the vulnerable status.
So far, the administration has listed 684 families who are living on these foothills that stand at the risk of landslides.
Since Sunday morning, officials also used loudhailers to warn the people living in risky hilly areas and ask them to move to the shelters.