Water levels are rising in Panchagarh after two days of heavy rainfall and with water coming down the rivers in the region from upstream
Northern areas of Bangladesh could be deluged by heavy flooding by the end of this week following monsoon rainfall upstream in India, officials have warned.
Md Arifuzzaman Bhuyan, executive engineer of Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), said most of the Indian northeast – especially Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal states – have been experiencing heavy and widespread rainfall for the past few days.
“The water is gradually coming downstream to Bangladesh and swelling the rivers in the northern part,” he said.
The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast that the rainfall in its north-eastern zone will continue for at least another two days.
“If the rainfall continues as per the projection, most of the rivers in the Brahmaputra basin in Bangladesh will be flooded,” Arifuzzaman added.
The June to August period is monsoon season in South Asia. During this period, heavy to very heavy rainfall is the normal trend across the whole catchment of rivers, from their origins in northern India to Bangladesh, where they empty into the Bay of Bengal.
According to the FFWC on Tuesday, all of the major rivers in the Brahmaputra basin were rising are were likely to continue to do so for the next three days.
The water level of the Ganges river system was also expected to continue increasing on Wednesday, while a similar trend was seen in the Surma-Kushiyara river systems due to the presence of heavy rainfall in the upstream Meghalaya state of India.
Danger levels reached
According to the flood bulletin of FFWC, three different rivers in the country were all flowing above their danger levels at certain points on Tuesday.
The Surma river was flowing above its danger level at Kanaighat and Sunamganj points, by 56cm and 48cm respectively.
The Kushiyara river was flowing 2cm above its danger level at Sherpur-Sylhet point, while the Old Surma at Derai point was over by 43cm.
The situation is unlikely to ease soon with the Bangladesh Meteorological Department also predicting heavy rainfall in the northern region of the country for the next 48 hours.
In 24 hours of Tuesday it recorded 179mm of rainfall at Jaflong, 174.2mm at Ramgarh, 141mm in Rangamati and 135.5mm at Panchagarh.
There were also levels of 119mm recorded in Chittagong, 101.4mm at Bandarban, 100.0mm at Lorergarh and 79mm in Kushtia.
Water levels on the rise in Panchagarh
Water levels are rising in Panchagarh after two days of heavy rainfall and with water coming down the rivers in the region from upstream.
Water levels have risen in the rivers flowing over the district. In Karatoa the flow was 2cm below the danger level, the Water Development Board said on Tuesday.
Many areas in the district headquarters remained waterlogged, with even the Panchagarh deputy commissioner's office becoming inundated with floodwater.
Whole streets were under water in the municipal area's Islambagh, Dokropara, Kayetpara, Uttar Jalashi and Stadium Road, among other areas, impeding traffic and commuters.
Teesta waters close to danger level
In Dalia Division, a local public representative from Dimla upazila of Nilphamari said around 700 families were marooned after the water level began rising from Monday night.
The FFWC office at Dalia Division of the Water Development Board said that at 3pm on Tuesday, the water level at Teesta Barrage point of the Teesta river was at 55cm, right below the danger level of 60cm.
The water level was the same at Dalia point. This is despite all 44 sluice gates of the Teesta Barrage having been opened, Dalia Division Executive Engineer Rafiqul Alam Chowdhury said.
Surma above danger level in Sunamganj
Water levels were increasing rapidly for a number of rivers in Sunamganj - including the Surma, Kushiara, and Dhonu - due to incessant rainfall and the onrush of water from higher ground.
The Sunamganj Water Development Board recorded 38mm rainfall in 24 hours on Tuesday.
The Surma River is now flowing at 48cm above the danger level at the Shologhar point, while water levels were also increasing in the haor areas.
“We might be hit by floods if the situation does not improve,” Ranjan Kumar Das, the sub divisional engineer of the Water Development Board, said.
Flood recedes in Moulvibazar
Locals living near the Monu, Dholai, and Kushiara rivers have already been badly hit, after almost 500 villages in Kamalganj and Moulvibazar were swept away on June 12 when water broke through 38 points of Kamalganj, Kulaura, Rajnagar, and Moulvibazar on the Monu, Dholai, and Kushiara rivers.
Many people lost their homes, crops and fisheries due to the sudden flooding, and at least ten people were killed.
Last year, Hakaluki, Kauwadighi and Hail Haor locals were similarly devastated by unseasonal floods and waterlogging in these areas.
By Tuesday the waters had receded from most of the flood-affected areas in the Moulvibazar district in the north-east, enabling residents to return to their homes and begin the arduous task of making repairs, despite their impoverished state.
Moulvibazar Water Development Board has identified the 38 places where the embankments of the Monu, Dholai, and Kushiara rivers were breached.
However, the board has only taken initiatives to repair them in 18 places and although contractors have been employed for the remaining 20 places, repair work has not yet started.
The delays mean thousands of people near the river banks are living in fear of another flood if the damaged embankments are not repaired soon.