Floods may prolong this year: Experts


A prolonged flood is feared this year as the country may experience downpour and onrush of upstream water, experts said.
Even if the water does not rise very high, this time the flood may prolong. Earlier, the 1998 floods lasted for 33 days. The floods caused huge loss of life and property in more than half of the country.

Experts said the type of flood that started in the northern part of the country in June this year is very similar to that in 1996.
However, floods during monsoon are very common in Bangladesh for it drains almost a total of 1.7 million square kilometers in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna basins spanning India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, after India opened barrage gates, 22,200 cusecs of water entered Bangladesh through the Teesta, which means flowing of more than 6 lakh liters of water every second.

It is typical of India to open Gajoldoba Barrage gates during monsoon to release waters, often without warning Bangladesh. It takes about two and a half hours for waters released from the Gajoldoba Barrage to hit Bangladesh.

The Teesta, which remains dry for four months between October and January because of India withdrawing all the waters, is hardly in any shape to handle such a sudden rise in water pressure with its sand-silted river bed.

The government's Flood Forecast and Warning Center said the ongoing flood waters will recede and increase again in the next couple of days. The floods are expected to last up to the end of July in the northern districts of the country.

The country's disaster experts have suggested that medicines and other relief supplies be prepared quickly for possible long-term floods. At the same time, they said the shelter centers should be prepared with the ability to deal with the risk of corona infection. Experts also stressed the need to quickly prepare flood shelters that have not been used for a long time.

The experts said flood water is taking time to recede due to the adverse outfall condition caused by sedimentation at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal. They, however, observed that the floods will prolong this year as there are possibilities of more heavy rainfall in the upstream.

According to the Flood Forecasting Warning Centre (FFWC), waters of the Padma, Ganges and other rivers around Dhaka city are rising, although the major rivers are showing the falling trend.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in this July over Indian states like Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Haryana, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

However, according to the government's Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management, about 3.5 lakh people are currently trapped in floodwaters in 14 districts of the country. The floods have damaged homes and crops of about 1.4 million people.

The worst affected districts are Jamalpur, Gaibandha and Sunamganj. Other flood affected districts are Manikganj, Rajbari, Madaripur, Sylhet, Tangail, Bogra, Sirajganj, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Nilphamari. The government has so far allocated Tk 1.73 crore and 10,700 tonnes of rice as assistance to the flood victims.

According to the Meteorological Department, heavy rains are expected in the foothills of Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura and West Bengal in the upper reaches of Bangladesh from Wednesday. Meanwhile, heavy rains have started in the Kosi river basin of India. As a result, most of the upstream rivers will start flowing at once within three days.

However, flood experts said that once the floodwaters recede, residents of char and low-lying areas usually return home quickly from shelters. But the water that is now receding in this flood may rise again in a few days. As a result, when they return home, they may become waterlogged again.

ArifuzzamanBhuiyan, executive engineer of the government's Flood Forecasting and Warning Center said, “even if the flood waters recede now, it could rise again in two to three days. As a result, it is better for the waterlogged people to stay where they have taken shelter. If possible, they should take refuge in higher places. This is because higher rainfall is expected to flood more areas.”

According to the flood forecasting and warning center, the water level is rising at 49 points out of 101 points in different rivers of the country and going over the danger line at 16 points. In Kurigram, the water of Brahmaputra river is flowing at 51 cm above the maximum danger level.