Long-term Flood Threat in Northern part of Bangladesh
The northern part of Bangladesh is affected by floods. Though the level of water hasn’t risen much, it can stay for a while. Back in 1998, the floods lasted for 33 days.
That flood affected more than half of Bangladesh’s total area and caused massive damage to people’s lives and assets. Experts say the flood pattern that started in the northern part of the country since June 27 is similar to ’98.
The Flood Forecast and Warning Center (FFWC) says that the water level of the ongoing flood will decrease in the next couple of days and start rising again. The flood swells in seven or eight districts in the northern part of the country may last from 20th to July 22.”
The disaster experts have suggested preparing food, medical supplies, and relief goods quickly for the estimated long-lasting flood. Also, the shelter centers should be prepared to tackle the COVID-19. Experts have too strongly stressed on preparing the long-term unused shelter centers as soon as possible.
Ainun Nishat, an emeritus professor at BRAC University, said, “Floods in June-July usually inundate low-lying areas. But now it can hear that flood control embankments are breaching in many locations, including Sirajganj.
If the floodwaters rise further in the next three to four days, the embankments could breach further and flood many areas identified as flood-prone. That’s why it has to find out and make arrangements so that the embankments do not breach suddenly.”
14 lakh people are stranded and affected
According to the government’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, about 350 thousand people are currently trapped in floodwaters in 14 districts. The floods have damaged homes and crops of about 1.4 million people. The worst affected districts are Jamalpur, Gaibandha, Sunamganj, Manikganj, Rajbari, Madaripur, Sylhet, Tangail, Bogra, Sirajganj, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Nilphamari. The government has allocated BDT 1.73 crore and 10,700 tonnes of rice as assistance to the flood victims.
Md. Mohsin, Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, said, “We have made all preparations for the floods. If the floods are prolonged, arrangements have been made so that there is no shortage of relief.”
According to the weather forecast of Bangladesh Meteorological Department, there will be heavy rains from July 7 in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal and Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura in India, upstream of Bangladesh. Meanwhile, heavy rains have started in the Koshi river basin of India. As a result, water will begin flowing through most of the upstream rivers in three days.
However, flood experts say that once the floodwaters recede, residents of low-lying areas usually return home quickly from shelters. But the water that is now decreasing in this flood may rise again in a few days. As a result, when they return home, they may become stranded again.
Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, the Executive Engineer at the government’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, said: “Even if the floodwaters recede now, it could rise again in two to three days. So the stranded people should stay where they are. And if possible they should move to an even higher place above the water level. Rainfall in the foreseeable future is expected to increase and flood higher areas.”
As the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, the water level rises at 49 out of 101 points in different rivers of the country and going over the danger line in 16 points. In Kurigram, the Brahmaputra river flows at 51 cm above the maximum danger level.
Ainun Nishat said, “After the floods of 1998, many shelters in the north were built on privately owned land. As a result, a large part of them has been evicted. Since the floods could last for another two weeks, these shelters need to be prepared for flood victims as soon as possible. Adequate relief needs to be provided by turning the high-rise buildings of educational institutions and public-private offices into shelters.”
The form of flood this year
Usually, 2-3 floods occur in Bangladesh per year. Generally, Floods that occur in late June or mid-July and last from one week to 10 days. The floods occur mainly in the Haor area of Sylhet and along the Brahmaputra and the Teesta basins. This time Chattogram, four districts on both banks of the Padma, the Atrai basin in the north has been flooded. Within a week, the waters of the Atrai River could cross the danger line and spread to more extensive areas of Naogaon, Joypurhat, and Bogura.
There are floodwaters in the Ganges-Padma basin only in some low lying areas of Munshiganj. However, in the next three to four days, floods may spread to Shariatpur, Madaripur, Faridpur, and Rajbari in this area.
There is a lot of rain upstream of Halda-Sangu and Matamuhuri rivers. In the middle of this month, floods may occur in Chattogram, Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati districts on both banks of these rivers. Floods could happen on both banks of rivers in the haor areas of Sylhet and Sunamganj within a week.
According to the Institute of Flood and Water Management of Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), after the independence war, among the long-lasted floods, the flood of 1998 lasted for 33 days. After that, the floods of 2004 and 2014 lasted for 16 days. Then the floods of ’95 and 1996 lasted for 12 days.
In terms of rising floodwaters, after independence, the floods of 1996 increased to 20.37 meters and in 1976 to 20.62 meters. Until then, those two floods were on record. Then in 2016, the water rose to a height of 20.70 meters breaking the previous two records. Then in 2017, the floodwaters rose to a height of 20.84 meters, and breaking all previous records floodwater rose to 21.16 meters in 2019.
Saiful Islam, a professor in the Department of Food and Water Management of BUET, said, The height or the extent of the floods is getting stronger than ever before. But I don’t see the kind of preparedness and activity for the flood which was taken during the cyclone.” In his opinion,” The flood-affected people should be provided with health, food, and life security in this Covid-19 situation. For that, we have to move forward with the private sector along with the public sector.”
Source: GreenPage Bangla