23 lakh marooned and it can get worse: 18 districts affected; over 60,000 take refuge in flood shelters

The Daily Star  July 20, 2020

Floodwater was still flowing above the danger mark at 22 points in different districts across the country as of Saturday, affecting more people and intensifying miseries of the victims.

The flood has marooned about 23.60 lakh people of some 5.51 lakh families in 18 districts as of Saturday, according to a special report on flood situation of Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.

At least eight people were killed by the flood which has already taken its toll on the people of 523 unions in 90 upazilas across the country, report says.

The government has opened 1,126 shelter centres in the districts where 47,686 people and 12,822 children have taken shelter.

The affected districts are: Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Sirajganj, Bogura, Jamalpur, Tangail, Rajbari, Manikganj, Madaripur, Faridpur, Netrokona, Feni and Nowgaon, said the report.

At least 141km roads under the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) in 11 districts have been damaged in northern and north-western regions until yesterday, according to RHD’s flood information centre.

As per the preliminary assessment, the RHD would require around Tk 94 crore for short-and long-term repair of the roads, said an RHD official who asked not to be named.

In Sunamganj, around 700km roads have been damaged by flood, calling a halt to the vehicular movement on these roads.

In Faridpur, a portion of an embankment stretching 22 meter was washed away by flood water in Beelgozaria area under Sadar upazila yesterday morning, submerging 50 houses.

In Munshiganj, ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari route were resumed last evening after 48 hours. The services were disrupted in last few days due to heavy current.

Meanwhile, the absence of toilet and sanitation facilities has aggravated the sufferings of flood-hit people, especially the women and children.

Many flood victims have taken shelter on roads and dykes after their houses were inundated. They have set up makeshift houses there, but they could not build temporary toilets.

The volume of relief and food aid from individuals and private organisations has reduced significantly this year due to the pandemic, our correspondents report citing locals.

According to the report of the disaster management and relief ministry, 4,965 tonnes of rice, Tk 2.10 crore cash, 43,772 packets of dry food and Tk 22.50 lakh for children food, Tk 22.50 lakh for fodder and 80 bindles of corrugated iron sheets were distributed among the affected people.

The government has formed 593 medical teams, of which 204 teams have already started working in the affected areas, the report says.

FLOOD SITUATION MAY WORSEN AGAIN

Although Saturday’s report of Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) of Bangladesh Water Development Board shows that water of most of the major rivers was receding and it may continue for 24 to 48 hours.

But the water of those rivers may rise again within days.

Saturday’s report says flooding situation in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogura, Jamalpur, Natore, Sirajganj, Tangail, and Manikganj is improving while the situation in Munshiganj, Faridpur, Madaripur, Rajbari and low-lying areas of Dhaka will remain static.

A special report of FFWC published on July 14 says water level of all major rivers in the country will rise again between today and tomorrow.

The water of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and other rivers will rise to the highest level on July 25 and 26 and then it would start receding, it says.

Some areas of northern regions may be hit by flood again during that time

On the other hand, flood situation in many areas of northern, northern-central, and central areas may turn into a long-term flood which may remain till the end of this month,” the report says.

Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, executive engineer at FFWC, yesterday told this newspaper that water level may rise again as there is a possibility of heavy rainfall in the upstream regions in the middle of this week.

“So, flood situation in the country may deteriorate again,” he said.

 

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