Jamuna Erosion: 30 homes gone in half an hour
In mere half an hour, the Jamuna devoured the homes, croplands, and belongings of some 30 families in Ichamara village of Bogura's Sariakandi. Powerless to do anything, the families watched in horror as everything they owned was swept away, leaving them with nothing.
Just before it happened, a 25-year-old flood control embankment gave way to the strong currents of the Jamuna Thursday afternoon.
The dam stretched for 150 meters and had been protecting the land for decades.
"The families have been living here for years. It was heartbreaking to see them become homeless in a matter of minutes. The poor people! Now, they don't know what to do or where to go," said Helal Ul Alam, a former member of the Kamalpur union parishad who witnessed the travesty firsthand.
"The river was over 100 metres from the homes just a day ago. This is most unsettling," he added.
Local resident Jaheda Begum, 60, said, "We've been living in this village for around 25 years. The river has taken everything I had; I don't even have any spare clothes. I don't know what to do or where to go now."
Another victim, Md Rabbani, 40, said, "Just a few days ago, I spent a lot of money on a new fishing net, which is now lost to the river along with my home and other belongings. I've lost my home as well as my livelihood."
Moreover, another 300 families living on both sides of a 1km-long flood control embankment in the village are moving their homes and livestock to higher ground out of fear that the dam will collapse, said UP Chairman Rasheduzzaman Rasel.
The Jamuna River was flowing 16cm above the danger level at Mothurapara point of Sariakandi upazila yesterday at 3:00pm, according to officials of Bangladesh Water Development Board (WDB).
Contacted, Nazmul Haque, executive engineer of the Water Development Board in Bogura, said they were working to prevent the erosion.
"Around 13,000 families have been marooned by the recent flood. The government is distributing relief materials among the victims," said Golam Kibria, the District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer (DRRO).
Meanwhile, the flood situation continues to deteriorate in other northern districts, namely Sirajganj, Kurigram, and Jamalpur.
In Sirajganj, vast low-lying areas have gone underwater after the Jamuna overflowed its banks, marooning around 100,000 people in five upazilas, said locals and people's representatives there.
Jamuna was flowing 13cm above the danger level at the Hard Point and 7cm above the danger level at the Kazipur Point yesterday at 6:00pm, according to WDB.
"The water level is increasing rapidly in the Jamuna due to onrush water from upstream India, further deteriorating the flood in the district. The situation is expected to remain unchanged in the next couple of days," said Ranajit Kumar, sub-divisional engineer of the district WDB.
In Kurigram, the Brahmaputra has been swelling since Thursday due to onrush water from upstream India.
However, the water level was still below the danger mark, local WDB officials said yesterday.
"Houses and croplands in our union have been submerged," said Sohrab Hossain, chairman of Ashtamir Char Union Parishad in Chilmari upazila.
"Floodwater entered my house Thursday night. Although we are still here, we have moved our cattle and poultries to higher ground," said Sirajul Islam Mandal, 60, a local farmer.
In Jamalpur, the Jamuna continued swelling, flowing 25cm above the danger level at Bahadurabad ghat point yesterday at 9:00am, according to WDB.
At least two unions in Dewanganj upazila and six unions in Islampur upazila were flooded, according to the local administration.
Aman paddies covering around 2,087 hectares of land have been submerged, said Zakia Sultana, deputy director of the district Department of Agriculture Extension.
[Our correspondents from Bogura, Pabna, Lalmonirhat and Jamalpur contributed to this report.]