People use makeshift raft as transport during the flood in Sunamganj
© Dhaka Tribune
People use makeshift raft as transport during the flood in Sunamganj
Situation may worsen over next 4-5 days, forecasts FFWC

With the monsoon setting in and onrush of hilly water from the upstream, Bangladesh is currently facing a serious threat of floods that could cause extensive damage to farmlands across the country, officials have said.

Heavy precipitation and onrush of water from hilly areas upstream have already inundated districts in the northern and eastern regions of the country.

Low lying and char areas and crop fields in Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogra, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, and Jamalpur, have gone under water while thousands of people have been left marooned.

Under these circumstances, people are enduring a lot of hardship with the added fear of coronavirus infection.

In other parts of the north, water levels in some major rivers, including the Teesta and the Dharla, have risen due to heavy rainfall in the last few days, inundating many areas in Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha and Kurigram districts, according to the Flood forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC).

Moreover, the Met Office predicted that rainfall will increase across the country in the next two to three days, only to worsen the flood situation.

Md Arifuzzaman Bhuyan, executive engineer of FFWC, told Dhaka Tribune that the flooding may last for the next two weeks as water levels are likely to rise this week and perhaps start to recede from next week.

He said the flooding may spread to some central districts like Faridpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Rajbari, and Munshiganj in a couple of days, as water levels continue to rise in the next four to five days.

18 to 20 districts are likely to be affected by the flood this year, he added.

According to a FFWC bulletin issued on Sunday morning, the flood situation in Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogra, Jamalpur, Sirajganj, Tangail, Sylhet, Netrokona, and Sunamganj may worsen in the next 24 hours, while Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari are likely to remain stable.

The bulletin, which showed data available until 9am yesterday, said that water levels of all main rivers were on a rising trend and this would likely continue for the next three days.

In the next 24 hours, the water level of the Padma River may cross the danger level at Goalanda point.

The water levels of the Teesta and Dharala are likely to remain steady for the next 24 hours, added the bulletin.

Water levels at 86 river stations out of 101 monitored by the FFWC, marked a rise until 9am Sunday, while 13 stations recorded a fall. Two others remained unchanged.

The Brahmaputra at Chilmari point is flowing 72cm above the danger level, while the Surma river at Sylhet point is flowing 2cm above the danger level, according to a FFWC bulletin issued at 3pm on Sunday.

Hydrology expert Dr Ainun Nishat said: "Flooding during June-July is normal because of rainfall and upstream water flow. However, the monsoon is more active this year.

He said the matter of concern is whether any region is flooded with the collapse of an embankment or not.

"The government should work seriously to protect the embankments as huge sums of money are being spent on them year after year. Now it needs to hold officials concerned, accountable," he said.

The embankments are built and protected by the Bangladesh Water Development Board. Dr Nishat suggested the authorities concerned should also bring the Local Government Division into the process.

About the distribution of relief materials, Md Akram Hossain, additional secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, said: "We have already given money and other relief materials to the district administrations for helping them to face various calamities.

"In this case [flood], we are yet to receive any demand for relief purposes from the district administrations. As per their demand, we will provide relief materials," he added.

Weather forecast

A 24-hour bulletin issued by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) at 9am yesterday said light to moderate rain/thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty winds are likely to occur at most places over Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, and at many places over Khulna division, with moderately heavy to very heavy rainfall at places across the country.

It also said the axis of the monsoon trough runs through Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, sub-Himalayan West Bengal to Assam, across the northern part of Bangladesh. Monsoon is active over Bangladesh and moderate over North Bay.

In the last 24 hours till 6am Sunday, 121mm rainfall was recorded at Swandip, while Hatiya and Sylhet recorded 57mm and 52mm rainfall, respectively.

Meteorologist Abdul Mannan said: "The Sylhet region will experience more rainfall than the previous day. In the next two to three days, there will be rain all across the country."