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14 August, 2017 12:51:55 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 August, 2017 10:13:24 AM

North reeling under flood

Opening of all gates of Gajaldoba barrage on Teesta in India main reason
AKRAM TALUKDAR from Dinajpur with ABU HASNAT RANA from Lalmonirhat
North reeling under flood
A road in Mahutpara area of Dinajpur town is seen flooded yesterday following the collapse of the town protection embankment because of the onrush of water from India and continuous rain. Independent Photo

With the opening of all the gates of the Gajaldoba barrage in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri on the upstream of the Teesta, floods have occurred in the northern plains, threatening the Teesta barrage and other key point installations including the Saidpur airport. The district administration in Dinajpur has called in the services of the Army and the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) to help combat the situation after the low-lying areas of the town went under water following the collapse of the town protection embankment.

Floodwater has entered Saidpur of Nilphamari district as the town protection dam of the area has been washed away by the onrush of the water down the hills and incessant rain. The Army has been deployed in the area to combat the situation. Besides, there are concerns that the Saidpur airport may be submerged by  at any time, sources said.

The onrush of heavy waters has forced the Teesta barrage authorities to open all the sluice gates of the barrage. They said they are facing huge pressure of water on the barrage as the upper riparian Gajaldoba barrage in India has opened all its gates. Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) sources said one platoon of the Army has already been deployed at Gangachhara of Rangpur district to protect the town protection dam, while two more platoons have been posted in Dinajpur and at the Teesta barrage respectively.

The flood has severely affected the northern districts of Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram and the north-eastern districts of Sunamganj and Sylhet after heavy showers and the onrush of water from the upstream swelled the Brahmaputra-Teesta and Surma rivers.

On July 26, water resources minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said there could be severe floods in the third week of August as the waters of three rivers—the Padma, Meghna and Jamuna—were expected to rise due to torrential rain.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government has decided to procure food grains from abroad as a precautionary measure to face any possible shortage amid speculations of severe flooding in the coming weeks.

“Floodwaters have devastated vast tracts of land with standing crops. The situation may take a serious turn in the coming days. There is a possibility that the deluge would submerge more areas in the coming days,” she said while addressing the first meeting of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) at her Tejgaon office.  

According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, Ganges-Padma and Surma-Kushiyara rivers are on rise. After monitoring 90 rivers, the FFWC said 77 rivers are rising, while 12 show falling trends. Meanwhile, the floods have severed communication among different districts, including Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Dinajpur, as the roads in those areas have broken down and the soil under the rail line slippers has been washed away.

Railway authorities have decided not to run trains till the tracks are repaired. Our Dinajpur correspondent reports: All the rivers, including the Punarbhaba and the Kanchan, were flowing above their respective danger levels yesterday, flooding Sadar, Birol, Kaharole, Birganj, Khansama, Chirirbandar and Parbatipur upazilas.

The flood protection dam of the Sadar town collapsed yesterday, leading to immediate flooding of the low-lying areas, including Pulhat and New Town, after heavy overnight rains totalling 296mm until 6am yesterday. Army and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel have been working relentlessly to repair the embankments to protect the town.

Three people of the district have fallen victims to the flood situation so far. Dipali Roy, 32, of Birol upazila died after being bitten by a snake. Mehedi Hasan, 15, was swept away by  floodwater, while Saiful Islam, 45, died of electrocution in Sadar upazila.

At the request of district administration, a 52-member team, comprising Army and BGB members, have been working round the clock to protect the town dam and carry out rescue operations.

At least 50 metres of the flood protection dam at Toothbagan of Mahutpur area of the town was washed away at 9am yesterday. As a result, 6 No Auliapur union and other adjacent areas have been flooded.

BGB and Army personnel are working at the point to protect the area. Dinajpur deputy commissioner Khairul Alam said locals are helping the Army and the BGB to repair the dam to protect the town. He also said they have already distributed 67 tonnes of rice and Tk. 1.10 lakh among the affected people.

Local lawmaker Iqbalur Rahim also distributed relief materials in the sadar upazila. Our Nilphamari Correspondent reports: Low-lying areas of the district have been inundated due to non-stop rain for four consecutive days and the onrush of water from the upstream. Many unions of Dimla, Jaldhaka, Saidpur and Sadar upazilas have been flooded, with more than 8,000 families being marooned.

On the other hand, about 1,000 metres of the Swapon flood protection embankment, which is located near the Indian border, has been washed away as it failed to withstand the huge pressure water. About 1,000 families in the area have been trapped by the flood.

Dalia Water Development Board executive engineer Md Mostafizur Rahman said that a red alert has been issued around the Teesta barrage. The Teesta river is now flowing 65 cm above the danger mark at the Teesta barrage point, he added.

In Sirajganj, swift currents of the Brahmaputra tore away parts of the embankment at Chowhali. This has flooded vast areas of the district.

Our correspondent in Lalmonirhat reports: More than 1.16 lakh families in five upazilas of the district have been marooned. About 30,000 hectares of T-aman paddy fields and 189 primary school have gone under water.

Stretches of the flood protection dam in Shiberkuti and Char Khatamari under Sadar Upazila have broken down. Floodwater has entered the city and even some parts under the municipality.

Train communication in Lalmoni-Burimari, Lalmoni-Dhaka, Teesta-Ramna and Panchagarh-Thakurgaon routes has been suspended due to damaged rail tracks at some points, according to sources in the Lalmonirhat railway divisional office.  Some places of Burimari land port areas have also been inundated by the water.

The Teesta was flowing 53 cm above its danger mark at Dowani point yesterday noon. The Dharla was flowing 118 cm above its danger mark.

The Teesta barrage authorities yesterday opened all the gates due to extreme pressure of water in the barrage areas. Water is entering the low-lying areas, causing severe floods in 35 unions and two municipality areas of Hatibandha, namely Kaligonj and Aditmari, along with Patgram and Lalmonirhat Sadar upazilas.

 The barrage authorities have issued a red alert in the barrage areas and told villagers to go safer places, said an executive engineer of the Teesta irrigation project. The Teesta barrage flood bypass has been partly damaged in four points due to extreme pressure of water, he added.

Mosaddek Hossen Chowdhuri, chairman of Mohishkhocha union under Aditmari upazila, said the water level in the river is rising and entering the villages under the union. The onrush of water is threatening Spar-2 (A flood protection dam), he added.

A 500-metre stretch has already been washed away by the floodwater, while another stretch of nearly 200 metres is also lying broken on the Lalmonirhat-Fulbari road. In Mogalhat union of Sadar upazila, several hundred metres of area have been broken at the Bumka point of a flood-control dyke.

Four members of a family were drowned at Purba Barua of Kulagha in Sadar upazila while they were moving to safer place by banana raft. Of them, the body of Nizam (6) was recovered.

In Kurigram: The incessant heavy rain and the onrush of water down the hills have worsened the flood situation. The 16 rivers in the district have swelled considerably, with some of them flowing over the danger line.

The flood has stranded at least four lakh people of the nine upazilas of the district. Communication through the Kurigram-Rangpur highway has stopped as the  Dharala river embankment has been washed away at the Kalyan area of Sadar upazila.

Two persons in the area died of snake biting, while another drowned in Kurigram Sadar.

Floodwater is flowing at three points along the Kurigram-Bhurungamari highway, while some parts of the Kurigram-Phulbaria roads have been washed away.

At least a 20-feet stretch of the WDB embankment has been washed away. Almost all unions of Bhurungamari and Phulbari upazilas have been flooded.

Our Jamalpur Correspondent reports : With the rising of the water level of the Jamuna, the district has been hit by floods for the second time in recent months.

WDB sources said the Jamuna was flowing 77 cm above the red mark at the Bahadurabad ghat point till 3 pm yesterday. Over 30,000 people in 20 unions under Islampur, Madarganj and Dewanganj upazilas have been affected by the floods, they added.

Assistant district primary education officer Abdur Razzak, said 44 primary schools, among which 34 are in Islampur, six in Madarganjand four in Dewanganj, have been closed.

In Rangpur: The flood situation has sharply deteriorated during the past 24 hours until 9am yesterday. About five lakh people in the Brahmaputra basin have been marooned.

According to WDB sources, the flood situation may detetiorate further in the next 72 hours.  They said Jamuneswari was flowing 99cm above the danger mark at Badarganj in Rangpur yesterday.

The Teesta was flowing 60cm above the danger mark in Dalia and the Dharla 112 cm in Kurigram at 9am yesterday. The Brahmaputra was flowing 25cm above the danger mark at Chilmari and 29cm at Fulchhari, while the Ghaghot was flowing 14cm above the danger mark in Gaibandha.

The Jamuna was flowing above the danger mark by 64cm at Bahadurabad, 43cm at Sariakandi, 41cm at Kazipur and 50cm at Sirajganj points at 9am yesterday.

The Punorvoba was flowing above the danger mark by 60cm at Dinajpur, 81cm at Thakurgaon, and 73cm ay the upper Atrai in Bhushirbandaryesterday.




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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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