Daylong sporadic downpour coupled with a collapsed traffic system caused indescribable hardships to the city dwellers yesterday.
Hundreds of people suffered due to the snail-paced vehicular movement on busy streets in waterlogged Dhaka. The 28mm of rainfall submerged many city neighbourhoods, exposing the vulnerability of the capital's drainage system very early into the monsoon season.
Roads behind Bangabhaban, the official residence cum office of the President, were inundated in the rain and many parts of the concrete roads were washed away.
As a result, traffic division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police diverted Gulistan bound buses from Tikatuli area and directed them to go around Motijheel.
“Due to accumulation of rainwater, potholes were created in several places.
That is why, we've diverted buses,” said Foysal Mahmud, Assistant Commissioner of DMP's Traffic Division.
A bottleneck was created as all buses were going towards their respective destination via Motijheel, part of which was also inundated in the downpour.
“It usually takes only 2-3 minutes to reach Motijheel from Tikatuli. But it took half an hour today,” Mir Shoikat, a businessman, said.
“Since the road was submerged, it was not possible to get off the bus,” said Amina Khatun, a private banker.
Like her, many passengers remained stuck in the hot and crowded atmosphere inside the bus.
Students were the worst sufferers as many parts of Motijheel, Arambag, Rajarbag and Fakirapul were flooded in the rain.
With pants folded up to their knees, many could be seen going to their schools and colleges.
Abir Hossain, a student of XI, attempted to go to Notre Dame College from Mugda on a rickshaw but its wheels got stuck in a pothole near Kamalapur Rail Station.
“The rickshaw puller could not see the pothole. Accidents may happen but I was lucky that the puller was cautious,” said Abir, adding that he got off the rickshaw and walked to his college amid the murky sewage mixed with rain water.
Given the circumstances, Notre Dame College suspended both first year and second year classes after 10:30am.
Usually city dwellers experience traffic gridlock on the road during office hours but yesterday was exceptional as the city was choked with traffic since early morning.
Nasimul Haq, a resident of Moghbazar, was supposed to attend a programme in Rangpur. He booked a flight ticket to Syedpur which was scheduled for 8:30am.
“After waiting for about 40 minutes, I managed to get on a bus at around 7:15am. But it moved at a very slow pace as the road from Mohakhali to Banani was gridlocked amid the rain,” he said.
“When I reached the airport, it was already 8:28am,” Huq said.
The slow movement of traffic went on throughout the day.
Hasib Hossain set off from Azampur of Uttara to his relatives' house in Farmgate at around 1:00pm.
It took him more than two and half hours to reach Farmgate
According to official sources, the inadequate storm-water drainage system was capable of dealing with only 20mm of rainfall.
City areas lacking adequate storm water drainage facilities went under ankle-to-knee-deep water.
The Met Office recorded 28mm of rainfall in Dhaka city between 6:00am and 6:00pm, said the duty forecasting officer at the Dhaka Met Office.
According to meteorologist Omar Faruk of Bangladesh Meteorological Department, the rain would continue for some time and there was no clear indication as to when the country would see clearer skies in the next few days.
Since the monsoon is active, rain may continue today, he added.