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11 July, 2020 05:47:45 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 July, 2020 06:23:44 PM

Experts for strong embankments to face flood

Independent Online/BSS
Experts for strong embankments to face flood

With the inundation of around 26,000 square kilometers of low-lying areas along with the damages of crops, houses, roads and loss of livestock every year, Bangladesh should have increased number of flood shelter centres and strong river embankments to fight the annual natural phenomenon of food, suggested experts.

“This is the time we should put much emphasis on the application of appropriate technology for construction of river embankments and reconstruction and maintenance of those after carrying out thorough surveys and field investigations to find out solutions for each areas,” water resource management specialist Professor Ainun Nishat told BSS in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

Nishat, also a professor emeritus at private-run BRAC University, described the country’s annual flood situation and conditions of embankments and management of those in three river basins of the country and said a flood protection embankment should be built at Sunamganj point to protect the district town from being inundated with the overflow of river Surma.

He also suggested building strong embankments in Faridpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Gopalganj and Jhalakkahti districts along riverbanks in Padma basin and in Jamalpur and Sherpur in Brahmaputra basin, saying the two north-central districts generally witness the acute spikes of flooding.

Ainun Nishat, also a former professor of water resources engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said flood is a single word but it has different characteristics in different areas due to multiplicity of lands, overall atmospheres, wetlands and river characteristics as well, so this thing must be kept in mind in building flood protection embankments.

Talking to BSS, Professor GM Tarekul Islam, a faculty at Institute of Water and Flood Management at the BUET, underscored the need for proper maintenance and repairing of embankments so that those cannot get damaged or destroyed during floods.

“Many embankments have been damaged and will be destroyed or damaged in the coming days too. There are so many reasons behind why the embankments cannot be repaired and properly maintained and it is not so easy to overcome the setbacks overnight,” he said, adding that blaming only BWDB board would not be fair because many other concerned bodies and some reasons would be responsible for the setbacks.

Islam underscored the need for increasing the budgetary allocations for constant maintenance of embankments apart from construction of those as it needs huge amount of money for the maintenance.

“Maintenance of embankments is not so easy… the embankments stretch over hundreds of kilometers of areas. Rat holes are one of the major reasons behind damage of embankments and sometimes unconscious activities of people also caused the damage of those,” said the flood management expert.

He also stressed on making united efforts in coordination of all concerned ministries and bodies and other stakeholders to this end.

Islam also suggested increasing the number flood shelter centers, saying the country has many cyclone shelter centers at the costal belts but flood shelter centers are not sufficient.

Some government projects remain under implementation to build shelter centers, he said, adding when the shelter centers will be built it will be really helpful for the people in flood prone areas to take refuge there during the time of flood.

Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) predicted low-laying areas of the country’s 23 districts may experience spikes of fresh and prolonged flooding in the next week with the rise of water levels in the Brahmaputra and Meghna basins in the next 72 hours and later in the Padma basin due to onrush of waters from the upstream and heavy to very heavy downpours.

Sarder Udoy Raihan, sub-divisional engineer of FFWC, told BSS on Thursday that water levels of major rivers in Brahmaputra-Jamuna basins may cross their danger marks (DMs) at major points after July 12 and the water levels may reach its peak on July 17 while water levels of Padma basin rivers is likely to reach its peak on July 19.

Talking to BSS, BWDB executive engineer Md Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan said the approaching flood may sustain for a long period, more than 15-20 days, till last week of this month in some areas as water levels of all three major river basins are likely to rise in the current week.

Asked whether the flood situation of this year could be similar to that of 1988 or 1998, he said it is difficult to comment on that now and it will be easier to predict it a few days later after evaluating the rise of water levels but the flood this year may not sustain for a long time at a stretch like in the years when the country witnessed severe spikes of flooding.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman told BSS on Wednesday that the FFWC has predictions that the people of low-lying areas in the country’s 23 districts are going to witness fresh flood in the next week and it could continue for almost a month as water levels of the rivers Brahmaputra-Jamuna, the Padma and the Meghna are likely to rise from July 11.

He said the northern Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Nilphamari and Gaibandha, northwestern Natore, Naogaon, Bogura, Sirajganj and Rajshahi, north central Jamalpur and Tangail and central Manikganj districts in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna basin, central districts of Rajbari, Faridpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Munshiganj and southeastern Chandpur in the Ganges-Padma basin and northeastern Netrokona, Sylhet, Sunamganj and central district of Kishoreganj in Meghna basin may witness the fresh wave of flood.

The state minister said the government has taken all-out preparations to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people from the approaching flood as the deluge may continue for a prolonged period. Required directives have been given to keep shelter centers ready in the 23 districts, he added.

Mentioning the prime minister’s constant supervision, Dr Enamur said 200 tonnes of rice, Taka 5,00,000 in cash, Tk 2 lakh for child food, Tk 2 lakh for fodder (animal food) and 2,000 packets of dry foods were sent to every flood-prone district last night so that local administrations can stand beside the victims by reaching the relief goods in due time.

Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem also echoed the voice of Dr Enamur, saying the government remains ready to stand by the people in the flood prone areas with sufficient relief goods and other necessaries.

He said his ministry kept monitoring the flood situation round the clock to take steps immediately if any flood protection embankment gets damaged or destroyed anywhere in the country.





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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.

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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