The devotees coming to the Durga Puja mandaps faced immense suffering due to the incessant downpour
Within a fortnight, the second low-pressure system has developed in the Bay of Bengal and it has been causing widespread heavy to very heavy rainfall over the coastal belts of Bangladesh.
Under the influence of the depression in the Bay, the low-lying parts of the premier port city went underwater causing immense sufferings to the city dwellers.
The port city has been experiencing heavy precipitation accompanied by gusty and squally wind since Thursday.
According to the Chittagong Patenga Met Office, 182 mm rainfall was recorded in the last 24-hour till 3pm on Friday. The weather forecast officials fear that the heavy to very heavy rainfall may also trigger landslide in some parts of the city.
Many low-lying areas of the city including No. 2 Gate, Agrabad, Prabartak circle, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Shulakbahar, Bahadderhat, Pahartali, Kalamia Bazar, Kalurghat, Chandgaon and Bakalia went underwater. The water entered some low-lying residential houses and business firms leaving the people marooned.
The devotees coming to the Durga Puja mandaps faced immense suffering due to the incessant downpour. Mechanised vehicles stopped moving in areas underwater while many of those were seen stuck in waters with their engines downed in knee-deep waters.
Unlike other cities in the country, Chittagong is gifted with a natural drainage system, having a long network of canals, to drain out stormwater to the rivers and the Bay of Bengal.
However, nearly a third of the city goes underwater every monsoon while its southern part gets inundated during high tides even with no rainfall.
City planners blame unplanned urbanisation, 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 say.
Moreover, due to indiscriminate hill cutting in the city, the soil is washed down with rainwater and fills drains and nearby water bodies, causing water stagnation.
Businesses have also been hit hard as trade activities in Chaktai and Khatunganj wholesale markets were disrupted.
Meanwhile, the local administration has launched an awareness campaign in the port city, making announcements through public address systems so that people can leave the vulnerable hilly areas fearing landslides due to incessant rains.
Towhidul Islam, assistant commissioner (Land) of Chittagong district administration said that a total of 15 shelters were opened in the city to avert landslide-related casualties and damage amid the heavy downpour.
“A total of 15 shelters have been opened so that people living vulnerably at the foothills can take refuge. People living at risk of landslides are being moved to safer places as a precaution,” said the AC.
The district administration has so far listed 835 families who are living on the 17 most vulnerable hills.
The hills are owned by different government, autonomous, private organizations, and individuals including Bangladesh Railway, Public Works Department, Chittagong Wasa, and Chittagong City Corporation.