July 4, 2023
DHAKA – Heavy rainfall in the last few days and onrush of water from upstream have caused sudden flooding in the country’s northeast and raised the risk of flooding in the north.
Water levels in all major rivers in the regions are rising fast, increasing the risk of floods in new areas in the coming days, said officials of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB).
At least three rivers — the Surma, Old Surma and Someswari — in Sunamganj and Netrakona were flowing above the danger level yesterday morning, according to a bulletin of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC).
The bulletin released at 9:00am yesterday said the overall flood situation in Sunamganj and Netrakona may deteriorate slightly in the next 24 hours.
It, however, predicted that the situation may improve in the next 48 hours.
For the country’s northern region, the bulletin predicted short-term flooding.
“With the possibility of heavy rainfall upstream, the Teesta, Dharala and Dudhkumar rivers, may rise rapidly at times in the next 48 hours. The water level at Dalia point of the Teesta may cross the danger level in the next 24 hours, causing short-term floods in the low-lying areas of Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari,” it added.
The bulletin said the flow of water in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna river system was steady, while a rising trend was observed in the Ganges-Padma river system.
“The water level in these rivers may rise in the next 48 hours,” it added.
In Sunamganj, several thousand people have been affected as flood water inundated low-lying areas. Many areas of the district town have gone under water.
The district has been witnessing heavy rainfall for the last few days. On Saturday, Sunamganj town recorded this year’s highest 332mm rainfall in 24 hours.
Chhatak upazila, which is located at the foothill of India’s Cherrapunji, experienced 218mm rainfall in 24 hours from 9:00am Sunday, according to the BWDB.
If heavy rainfall occurs in Cherrapunji and the adjacent areas of Meghalaya, it would have a severe impact on Sunamganj as the rainwater drains through different rivers of the district, said BWBD officials.
According to BWBD, the Surma was flowing above the danger level at every point in the district. Besides, the water levels in the Jadukata, Boulai, Rakti, Kushiyara, Chalti, Patlai, Naljur, Khasiamara and Kalni rivers were also increasing fast.
People have been suffering immensely due to the sudden flooding.
“If such rainfall continues for two more days, the fish in my farms will be washed away,” said Kabir Ahmed, a fish trader of Shantiganj upazila in Sunamganj.
Last year, the district witnessed a severe flood that claimed some 15 lives and affected around five million people.
In Netrakona, vast areas of Kalmakanda upazila have been inundated as the water level in different rivers were rising fast due to heavy rainfall and onrush of water from upstream.
The Someswari was flowing 35 cm above the danger level at Dakbanglo point at 6:00pm yesterday, said BWDB officials.
Several hundred people have so far been marooned. Water has entered the premises of some 50 educational institutions in Kalmakanda, said locals.
In Kurigram and Lalmonirhat, all the rivers, including the Brahmaputra, Dudhkumar, and Dharla, were rising fast, posing the risk of inundating shoal areas.
If the trend continues, water levels in the rivers may cross the danger levels by today, said BWDB officials.
In Bogura and Gaibandha, the Brahmaputra and Jamuna were rising and the trend would continue for the next five days, said officials.
Our correspondents in Sylhet, Mymensingh, Lalmonirhat and Bogura contributed to this report.