Flooding maroons half a million in dists as rivers burst banks

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 15 Aug 2017, 00:27:50 | Updated : 15 Aug 2017, 18:21:12
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Flooding maroons half a million in dists as rivers burst banks

Death toll rises to 27, govt steps up relief efforts
Flooding maroons half a million in dists as rivers burst banks
Major rivers in Bangladesh are now flowing much above the danger level, setting off a second round of flooding during monsoon this year, report agencies.

Onrush of water from upstream areas coupled with monsoon rain affected 20 out of 64 districts claiming at least 20 lives amid fears of an impending severe deluge as major rivers continued to surpass bank lines, officials and experts said.

The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said new areas were being inundated as water continued to rise amid monsoon rain and onrush of upstream water.

Rising water-level was recorded at 69 out of the 90 monitoring points of the rivers across the country, said the flood forecasting agency's Executive Engineer Sazzad Hossain.

"It's flowing above the danger line at 27 points."

The situation will worsen as the Jamuna River in Jamalpur was flowing a record 126cm above the danger level on Monday. The surge of river water broke the previous record -- 121cm above the danger level-last year.

The water-level of the river in parts of the northern district of Sirajganj was flowing between 96cm and 100cm above the danger level.

Water in the Padma in southwestern Faridpur was also flowing 16cm above the danger level.

The Jamunashweri River in northern Rangpur was flowing 126cm above the mark while the Kangsha River in northeastern Netrokona 181cm above the danger level.

Mr Hossain said the flood situation might worsen over the next few days.

Over half a million people across Bangladesh were affected by the fresh floods, the disaster management ministry said on Monday.

So far, 27 people have died in the floods with some 586,000 people affected. As many as 368,586 people have taken refuge in shelters.

The trend of rising water may continue over the next 48 hours, and the floods in northern districts of Kurigram and Lalmonirhat will spread to Gaibandha, Bogra, Sirajganj and Jamalpur as well as the central and south-central part of the country.

The Met office forecasts light to moderate rains and thunder shower coupled with gusty winds in most areas of Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet Divisions.

Meteorologist Md Shahinul Islam said the rains may ease starting on Thursday.

Railway tracks in most parts of Dinajpur district went under floodwater, halting train services.

In Lalmonirhat, bodies of four people, who were washed away by floodwater at East Barua village in Sadar upazila, were recovered early Monday.

The deceased were identified Mozammel Haque, 45, Asma Begum, 38, Abu Hanif, 36, and Alif , 7 of the same village.

Kulaghat UP chairman Idris Ali said the four people went missing while going to a shelter centre from their home on Sunday afternoon and locals recovered their bodies in the early morning.

The flood situation in Lalmonirhat worsened as six embankments collapsed due to strong current in the Teesta and Dharla rivers, inundating fresh areas of the district.

The road and train communications between Lalmonirhat and Burimari remained suspended for the second consecutive day due to severe erosion at different places.

People in the flood-hit areas were suffering from scarcity of food and drinking water. Only 160 tonnes of rice and Tk 450,000 (4.50 lakh) in cash were allocated for over 100,000 flood-affected people.

Mustafizur Rahman, executive engineer of Water Development Board at Dalia Division, said Teesta River was flowing 5 centimetres above the danger mark at Dalia point while Dharala River was flowing 135 centimetres above the danger level at Kulaghat point on Monday morning.

To control the water, the Teesta Barrage Authorities opened its all gates the at Dalia point, he added.

Many of flood victims claimed that people in 63 chars and char villages remained marooned by floods over the last five days but they got insufficient government relief, forcing most of them to starve.

Rajpur Union Parishad chairman Mofazzal Hossain said in last five days, 50 houses were devoured by the river while the flood situation in 17 villages under his union worsened. But the administration allocated only 130kg rice for 25,000 flood-affected people.

Saniajan UP chairman Abdul Gafur echoed the same adding that he received only 75kg rice and a poor amount of dry food for 6,000 flood victims.

Waterborne diseases were spreading in the flood-hit areas. District Civil Surgeon Dr Amiruzzaman said about 54 medical teams were working in the flood-hit areas. However, no activities of medical teams were seen while visiting the spots.

More than one hundred schools were closed as floodwaters entered inside the buildings.

Rail communication of Dinajpur with Dhaka remained suspended since Sunday night as railway tracks in Dinajpur Sadar upazila went under water.

The flood situation in Dinajpur remained unchanged as waters of both the Punorbhava and Atrai rivers were flowing 80 centimetres above the danger level on Monday morning, said sources at Water Development Board in the district.

The flood situation in Kurigram worsened further on Monday following rise of the water level of the Dharala and Brahmaputra rivers.

The Dharala was flowing 132cm above the red mark and the Brahmaputra 68cm above the danger level.

However, floodwater started receding from inundated areas in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts since Sunday night.

An FE report adds: The government intensified its relief efforts for the flood-hit people on Sunday, as the natural disaster took a serious turn, officials said.   

Under the moves it has allocated 10,630 tonnes of rice, 60,000 packets of dry foods and Tk 31 million for the flood-hit people in 20 districts. Out of the relief, 1,200 tonnes of rice and Tk 6.0 million have already been distributed among the flood-affected people.   

A total of 586,000 people in 358 unions of various districts across the country have so far been affected by flood.

Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya informed the media about the government's preparations on the disaster management at a press briefing in the capital on Monday.  

The minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is monitoring the flood situation, and giving directives to the officials concerned to tackle the situation.  

"The ministry is also cautiously monitoring the flood situation in various districts."

He further said MoDMR has attached senior-level officials to the flood-hit districts to ensure better coordination for handling the natural disaster and proper distribution of relief materials among the affected people.

The minister said he has given directives to all the DCs of the flood-affected districts to open shelter centres and constitute medical teams.

He urged the medical teams to visit all the flood-hit areas, so that the people there can get proper healthcare services.

Mr Maya also called upon the officials of Department of Public Health Engineering to make usable the tube-wells that have been submerged in flood water as well as to provide ample water purification tablets to the affected people.  

    talhabinhabib@yahoo.com
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