People dismantle their home in Dewabari of Hatibandha in Lalmonirhat yesterday to take it to a safer place as the over-flowing Teesta floods a large portion of the north. Photo: Dilip Roy
With the situation worsening in at least five districts, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) yesterday said that the floods might be prolonged as the water levels of three major rivers are likely to remain unchanged for three more days.
Hit hard by the weeklong floods and resultant crisis of drinking water, several lakh people have pointed to the inadequate relief efforts of the government.
In Dhaka, the swelling-up of surrounding rivers, which have already inundated some low-lying areas around the capital, may see a further rise over the next 72 hours. However, the FFWC sees little possibility of floods in the next few days.
According to a 6:00am bulletin of the FFWC yesterday, all the major river systems were showing rising trends, except the Ganges, while the Brahmaputra, the Jamuna and the Padma were likely to remain unchanged through the next 72 hours.
“The flood situation in the country, especially in the north-west, may remain unchanged in the next 72 hours, as the water levels of the three major rivers have remained almost steady for the last few days,” said Ripon Karmaker, duty officer of FFWC, yesterday.
Meanwhile, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and his deputy Nazrul Islam Bir Protik visited several flood- and erosion-affected areas of Bogra and Sirajganj yesterday.
The flood situation deteriorated further yesterday as 10 villages of Khaliajuri upazila went under water on Monday night due to heavy downpour and inflow of upstream hill waters in the last few days.
The Someshwary, the Dhanu and the Ubdakhali rivers marked a further rise yesterday, while 50,000 people of 60 villages of Durgapur, Kalmakanda, Atpara, Madan and Khaliajuri upazilas have remained marooned for days.
A nearly seven-kilometre stretch of the Durgapur-Gawkandia road and five kilometres of the Kalmakanda-Boroiganj Bazar road have gone under water.
Though the government has allocated Tk 5 lakh and 50 tonnes of rice as relief, this barely meets the demand of the huge number of flood-hit people there.
At least 15 new villages of Islampur, Sharishabari, Dewanganj and Madarganj upazilas were submerged by the swelling Jamuna river.
Abdul Khaleque, chairman of Belgachha union parishad of Islampur, said as many as 1,200 families were marooned in the union but only 100 families received relief from the local administration. “Many are seeking relief every day but the union parishad is not getting relief materials as per demand.”
“We have been staying at Belgachha High School for the last seven days, but we are yet to get any relief,” alleged Aklima of Modhya Belgachha Miapara village.
The overall flood situation in the district has worsened due to an increase in the Teesta waters.
“Water from upstream across the border has caused the Teesta to swell again ... This is the first time the Teesta has been flowing above the danger mark for two weeks at a stretch,” Al-Mamun, sub-divisional engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) in Lalmonirhat, said.
Flood affected people have not received any relief materials from the government. An emergency relief plea was sent to the ministry a week ago but to no avail, said a district relief and rehabilitation official.
At least one lakh people of 80 villages in the district have been marooned for the last two weeks.
The water levels of the Dharla, Brahmaputra and Dudkumar rivers have risen, worsening the flood situation in the district.
About eight kilometres of flood protection embankments and 51 kilometres of roads have been washed away at different places by gushing floodwater, according to BWDB and district relief and rehabilitation officials.
Most of the flood victims were faced with crises of food, drinking water and sanitation facilities.
New areas of Sreenagar, Louhajang and Tangibari upazilas were flooded yesterday as the Pamda rose further. Around 30,000 people of the upazilas were marooned, Ruhul Amin, executive engineer of Munshiganj BWDB, said.
Ferry services on Mawa-Kawrakandi route were disrupted for the eighth straight days due to heavy current in the Padma, triggering traffic gridlock on both ends of the route.
Around 750 houses and two educational institutions in Sibchar upazila were engulfed by the swelling Padma and Arial Kha rivers in last few days.
The flood situation in Bogra and Sunamganj has remained almost unchanged while that in Sirajganj saw a little improvement, report our district correspondents.