12:00 AM, August 10, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 10, 2011

Monsoon grips country

City life reels from incessant rain, gridlocks, waterlogging

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Staff Correspondent

Downpour for the last couple of days indeed brought some relief from heat to the city, but it was a real tough time for the pedestrians and commuters. The photo was taken from the capital's Indira Road in Farmgate yesterday. Photo: Rashed Shumon

Heavy monsoon rains and gusty winds severely disrupted life in the capital and elsewhere in the country yesterday.
The non-stop downpour that began on Monday would start easing up in Dhaka and adjoining districts after today. However, in other regions, it would continue for a few more days, said met officials.
Flash flood alerts are already in place in several southern districts.
In Dhaka, people who had to go out had an awful day, as waterlogging and traffic gridlocks were at their worst in recent weeks.
Many areas went under knee-deep water. The worst-affected were Shantinagar, Mouchak, Moghbazar, Rampura, Badda, Jatrabari and Gulshan.
Most of the thoroughfares were waterlogged and clogged with traffic. People were stuck in tailbacks for hours on way to and from offices.
Rafiqul Islam, a motorist from Mohakhali, said he had to change his route twice to reach Karwan Bazar. Despite attempts to make the journey shorter, it took him nearly two hours to reach his destination, usually a one-hour drive.
“It took me an hour from the Prime Minister's Office to Farmgate,” he added.
Many motorcyclists and walkers were forced to take buses or other vehicles to avoid the rain, adding to the pressure on public transport.
“Rain slows down traffic movement. To make things worse, CNG-run vehicles break down in water,” said Mahbubur Rahman, joint commissioner (traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, explaining the jam.
Hundreds of commuters were seen stranded on both sides of Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue in the afternoon. They had long been waiting there for buses.
Many were standing in driving rain, as roadside shelters were already full of homebound people.
The vehicles that were coming were already crammed with passengers. Yet, people made a dash to get on those.
Female commuters suffered badly, as getting even a little room on the buses required elbowing aside numerous others.
Most school students were lucky in that they did not have to negotiate the drenching rain as their schools were closed for Ramadan.
It was, however, a tough day for the students of a handful of schools that held examinations yesterday.
“My brother took my daughter in his laps, folded his pants and waded knee-deep through water to take her to school for exams and later bring her back home,” said Mahmood Hossain of Motijheel.
While his daughter enjoyed the ride thoroughly, his brother almost fell into an open manhole on the road, he said.
Things were not bad for those who were at home, as load-shedding was less than usual and water supply was much better than other days.
However, the day labourers saw their trouble compounded as few found work amid incessant rain.
Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), in a press statement, claimed most of the city streets have been cleared of waterlogging.
Some, including the one in front of Mouchak, stayed waterlogged, as rainwater could not be pumped out to the adjacent rivers, which were already flowing close to danger mark, the press statement said.
The authority has requested the city residents to inform local Wasa officials if the roads in their areas are still under water.
According to the met office, 56mm rain was recorded in Dhaka in 12 hours ending at 6:00pm yesterday.
The highest rainfall in the country was recorded at Hatiya in Chittagong, which was 254mm in 12 hours from 6:00pm Monday. Cox's Bazar was second with 218mm.
Maritime ports in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla have been advised to hoist local cautionary signal number three and fishing boats and trawlers in the Bay of Bengal were asked to proceed with caution.
A source at the Dhaka River Port told The Daily Star that the downpour did not disrupt the port schedule.
Some 60 launches left the port yesterday maintaining their regular schedule, the source added.

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