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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh braces for more floods

Thousands stranded in northern districts

Update : 29 Jun 2020, 09:39 PM

Bangladesh is bracing for more floods after heavy rains in the Indian state of Assam caused the Brahmaputra River to burst its banks.

Thousands of people in seven districts of Bangladesh have already been marooned by floods on Monday, and the situation is hardly different in Assam. state.

The water level of five major rivers in the country – the Dharla, Ghagot, Brahmaputra, Jamuna, and Someshwari – was above the danger level and rising further on Monday. Kurigram, Jamalpur, Nilphamari, Sirajganj, and Sunamganj districts are among the worst affected, so far. 

In Kurigram, locals said low-lying areas in 55 unions under Sadar, Bhurungamari, Ulipur, Chilmari, and Nageshwari upazilas were flooded, leaving 64,000 people marooned.

Officials of the Bangladesh Water Development Board said the Dharla River was  73 cm above its danger level, while the Brahmaputra River had swollen by 73cm at Chilmari point. However, the Teesta River has stayed below the danger level for the past 24 hours.

The Kurigram branch of the Department of Disaster Management  said 302 tons of rice and Tk3,650,000 have been allocated to help people in flood hit areas.

Deputy Commissioner of the district, Md Rejaul Karim, said: “We took all necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of the people. The local administration is ready to tackle the disaster.”  

In Jamalpur, over 100,000 people living in at least 53 villages under four upazilas of the district have been marooned because of the flooding and the situation is worsening. Floods in Islampur, Dewanganj, Bakshiganj and Melandah upazilas are intensifying due to continuous rainfall and heavy flow of water down the Jamuna and Brahmaputra rivers. 

District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Nayeb Ali said about 100,000 people from more than 15,000 families in 53 villages of 13 unions in the four upazilas are suffering from water logging.

Islampur Upazila’s Sapdari Union Council Chairman Joynal Abedin said: "New chars [islands] in Sapdari union, situated in the middle of the Jamuna, had already been flooded since Ashar [mid-April to mid-May]. Floodwaters have entered 3,000 houses in these chars including Prajapatichar, Charshishua, Charnandanerpara, Amtali, and Kasharidoba."

Chinaduli Union Council Chairman Abdus Salam said: "This year's early floods have blocked roads and caused water and food shortage in the island areas of the Jamuna. Almost 8,000 people of 4,000 families in the low lying areas are trapped in the water.”

He added: “20 tons of GR rice has been distributed as relief in the flood-affected areas of Islampur and Dewanganj and requisition for 350 tons of rice, Tk7 lakh, and 2,000 packets of dry food have been made to the Disaster Management Department.”

In Bogra, the Jamuna River has been flowing 64cm above the danger level, submerging at least 476 acres of cropland and marooning thousands of people in Sarikandi upazila, confirmed Foyez Ahmed, DC of the district.

In Gaibandha, close to 18,000 people in 18 unions of Sadar, Fulchhari, and Saghata upazilas have lost their homes to flooding. The Brahmaputra, Teesta and Ghahgat rivers swelled to 53-80cm above the danger level on Monday.

50 shelters could shelter only 2,077 people, while the rest of the people were left stranded in the rain, local sources said.

Furthermore, over 3,500 hectares of cropland were submerged in the district and several areas are under threat of erosion, said Masudur Rahman, deputy director of the local Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

Fortunately, the water levels of the Surma, Kushiyara and Teesta rivers in Sylhet and Nilphamari were receding, according to Bangladesh Water Development Board sources.

However, there are still fears of severe erosion of riverbanks in several unions of Kanaighat, said UNO Md Bariul Karim Khan, quoting BWDB officials.

Meanwhile, in India’s Assam, torrential rain hit at least 23 out of 33 districts and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, reports Reuters.

Our correspondents Ariful Islam, Kurigram; Bishwajit Deb, Jamalpur; Nazmul Huda Nasim, Bogra; Hedait Hossain, Khulna; Tajul Islam Reja, Gaibandha; and Taieyb Ali Sarkar, Nilphamari contributed to the report.

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