Bhuiyan, an FFWC executive engineer, further said, “Heavy downpours worsened the flood situation which is gradually deteriorating in northern and north-eastern parts of Bangladesh.”

He said the trend was worsening as the forecasts suggested the heavy rainfall to continue for the next couple of days both in the upstream Meghalaya, Assam and western Himalayan regions of India alongside Bangladesh.

Water now continued to surpass much above the danger lines in two of the country’s four major river basins . . . the situation is worst since the 2004 flooding
M Arifuzzaman Bhuyan, Spokesperson, Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre

Monsoon rains and gushing waters from upstream India overnight worsened Bangladesh flood situation with experts calling it the worst since 2004 while officials estimated the flooding to have marooned at least six million (60 lakh) people.

Officials and reports suggest nearly six million people were marooned at their inundated homes or were forced to take makeshift refuge elsewhere as water level in rivers in north-eastern and northern regions continued to rise.

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Many people were forced to initially take refuge on their rooftops amid gushing rising waters until rescue boats arrived at many places in Sunamganj.

The incessant downpours aggravated affected people’s miseries while the deluge by now severed entirely the road connections of north-eastern Sunamganj district from rest of the country and forced authorities to shut down the Osmani International Airport in neighbouring Sylhet after water submerged its runway.

Flood waters engulfed several power stations forcing authorities to shut down the facilities, subsequently affecting internet and mobile phone communications as well and due to the shutdowns the entire Sunamganj district remained beyond power supplies for the last two days.

The reports also said the power outage forced people to depend on candles and kerosene-lit lamps a situation that soared up their prices at many places.

Due to rise of flood water more standing crops were submerged in the area. Flood water submerged T-Aman seed bed on 25 hectares, Aush on 215 hectares, jute on 1326 hectares, vegetable on 122 hectare and green chilly on 30 hectares of land

Bangladesh authorities earlier called out army troops in aide of civil administration in evacuating people or reaching succours to marooned people while navy and air force units subsequently were called out particularly in northeastern Sylhet region as it now appeared as a sea.

According to district administration officials, a 35-member naval team began rescue operations with one Coast Guard cruise and two Air Force helicopters.

“A 60-member navy contingent and two more cruises are expected to join the rescue operations in Sylhet and Sunamganj,” deputy commissioner of Sylhet district M Mozibor Rahman said.

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Reports said all the upazilas and half of Sylhet city, and all upazilas and municipalities of Sunamganj district, the Sylhet-Sunamganj highway and the Sylhet-Bholaganj Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman highway are already submerged.

Deputy Director (In-charge), Department of Agriculture Extension Zakia Sultana said due to rise of flood water more standing crops were submerged in the area. Flood water submerged T-Aman seed bed on 25 hectares, Aush on 215 hectares, jute on 1326 hectares, vegetable on 122 hectare and green chilly on 30 hectares of land.

Deputy commissioner Shrabosti Roy said Upazila administration was closely monitoring the situation.

Deltaic Bangladesh is crisscrossed by 56 major rivers and several hundred tributaries with hydrologists dividing the country in four major basins, with current flooding first exposed to its wraths the northwestern region covered under the Meghna Basin.

“The situation in Brahmaputra Basin aggravated overnight as the waters surpassed the danger marks at many places in northern and some north-western districts,” a FFWC official said.

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The disaster management ministry officials said the flood hit 17 of the country’s 64 administrative districts under the purview of the two basins.

BSS correspondents reported nearly 90 per cent of homes in Sunamganj is now under water while in Sylhet the figure is estimated to be 80.

Bangladesh saw four major prolonged deluges since 1987 with the last one being in 2004.

Water levels at 76 river stations monitored by Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) have marked rise while 29 stations recorded fall.

Among the 109 monitored stations, four river stations have been registered steady while water levels at 19 stations are flowing above the danger level, a bulletin issued by the FFWC said on Monday.

The Brahmaputra at Noonkhawa, Hatia, Chilmari and Fulchari, the Jamuna at Bahadurabad, Sariakandi, Kazipur, Sirajganj and Porabari, the Dharla at Kurigram, the Ghagot at Gaibandha, the Surma at Kanaighat, Sylhet and Sunamganj, the Kushiara at Amalshid and Shcola, the Khowai at Balla, the Old Surma at Derai and the Someswari at Kalmakanda are flowing above danger level by 23cm, 102cm, 52cm, 51cm, 47cm, 51cm, 43cm, 34cm, 20cm, 44cm, 32cm, 115cm, 55cm, 40cm, 184cm, 63cm, 115cm, 102cm and 92 cm respectively.

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Significant rainfall was recorded at some stations in different districts during the last 24 hours ending at 9:00am Monday, the bulletin added.

A total of 242 millimeters (mm) rainfall was recorded at Chattogram, 175mm in Parshuram (Feni), 155mm at Rangamati, 146mm at Teknaf, 100mm at Cumilla, 92mm at Narayanhat (Chattagram), 95mm at Bandarban, 90mm at Panchpukuria (Chattogram) and 88mm at Cox’s Bazar.

The FFWC suggests all major rivers of the country are in rising trend.

“According to the numerical weather forecast of meteorological agencies, there is chance of medium to heavy rainfall at places of the northern and north-eastern regions of the country along with adjoining states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sub-Himalayan West Bengal of India in next 48 hours. As a result, the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, Ganges-Padma, Dharla, Dudkumar and all other major rivers may continue rising in next 48 hours. Heavy rainfall in Meghalaya state is unlikely,” the FFWC statement added.

The FFWC suggested that flood situation in Sylhet, Sunamganj and Netrokona districts may remain steady in next 24 hours.

In the next 24 hours, the flood condition may deteriorate in the low lying areas of Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogura, Sirajganj, Jamalpur and Tangail while in the next 24 hours, there is chance of very heavy rainfall in the south-eastern parts of the country, the FFWC statement added.

All the major rivers of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati and Bandarban may rise rapidly in this period, the centre added.

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