Heavy rains throw city life out of gear
Yesterday, it was the same old story of inexpressible misery that the city dwellers endure when city traffic system collapses after rain.
Thousands of city dwellers suffered as vehicular movement halted for hours on waterlogged Dhaka streets during rush hours just three days ahead of the Eid holidays.
The Gulistan-Nawabpur intersection in the city is among the busiest which thousands of cars, rickshaws, vans, buses cross every day.
On a weekday, the intersection can get chaotic but after the unfavourable weather yesterday, it probably could not have gotten any worse.
The traffic was absolutely standstill there.
There, a woman was heard saying, “Brother, I have to take my son to the hospital. Please allow me to pass. My son will die otherwise.”
Her seven-year-old son was half conscious on a rickshaw behind her. He had a bad injury on his head and needed immediate medical attention.
Kulsum, the mother in her mid 30's, lives in an under-construction building in Nawabpur area with her husband and two children.
Her son, Saad, injured himself while playing in the building
“It takes me around 5-7 minutes to reach the nearby hospital, but today, it took me over 40 minutes to take my son to the hospital,” she said.
Senior Staff Nurse Faisal Ahmed of Dhaka Medical College Hospital headed for work from his Mirpur home around noon. He got stuck in traffic at Senpara on Rokeya Sarani which was waterlogged.
He got down from his bus and took a detour via Dhaka cantonment but got stuck at different points along the way.
He could reach only Bangla Motor around 3:30pm.
The journey from Moghbazar to the District Court of Dhaka seemed nothing less than an ordeal. The streets were under water in the morning causing major traffic bottlenecks. The situation did not improve even when there was no rain in the afternoon.
“It took me over two hours to reach the court during the rain and another two hours to reach Farmgate,” said Salma Mahbub, a lawyer.
“I had to walk from Shahbagh to Farmgate.”
Most parts of Bashundhara residential area went under knee-to-almost-waist-deep water within an hour of the torrential rain. The main roads connecting the 300-feet Road to the main gate of Bashundhara and streets of different blocks, especially B, C, D and F, were the worst affected. The streets remained inundated for hours.
Many vehicles, especially auto-rickshaws, broke down on the waterlogged streets triggering traffic jams in the largest private residential area.
A resident of Bashundhara said he had to wait for more than two hours to get a rickshaw, as the roads in Bashundhara went under almost waist-deep water.
People of parts of Indira Road, Tallabagh and West Raza Bazar suffered as streets and alleys went under knee-deep water. Many had to wade through the murky water to get to their destinations.
"The narrow alleys get submerged easily whenever there is moderate rain, making it difficult to get around. And the water is murky and stinky," said Abdullah of Indira Road.
"No rickshaw puller was willing to go in this water. I had no option but to wade through," he added.
Around 12:30pm, the road between the BGMEA Bhaban and Karwan Bazar intersection was seen submerged. Major thoroughfares like Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Pragati Sarani, Rokeya Sarani and Gulshan Avenue had standstill or crawling traffic.
According to official sources, the inadequate storm-water drainage system was capable of dealing with only 20mm of rainfall. Streets get waterlogged if the rainfall exceeds 40mm.
City areas lacking adequate storm water drainage facilities went under ankle-to-knee-deep water.
Green Road, parts of Mirpur, Sheorapara, Mohammadpur, Jatrabari, Shahjahanpur, Shantinagar, Khilgaon, Demra, Mohammadpur, Badda and a few other places in the capital were inundated. Parts of Karwan Bazar, Farmgate, Bashundhara, Dhanmondi, Nikunja and Mirpur were under water as well.
The Met Office recorded 46mm of rainfall in Dhaka city between 6:00am and 3:00pm, 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 brighter skies in the next few days.
Taslima Imam, an assistant director at Bangladesh Meteorological Department, said heavy rain across the country, including the capital, was forecast until 10:00am today due to active monsoon.
Rangpur, Sylhet, Mymensingh and Chittagong divisions might have heavy to very heavy rain and there was possibility of landslides in some parts of Sylhet and Chittagong regions, she said.
A depression lies over West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh which extends to the North Bay.
It rained 100mm in Maijdee Court of Noakhali, 90mm in Sandwip, 85mm in Feni, 68mm in Nikli of Mymensingh, and 58mm in Faridpur between 6:00am and 3:00pm yesterday, according to Met office records.