Flood situation worsens in Ganges basin: BWDB

Flood-affected people are seen on water as they wait for a boat to cross a stream in Jamalpur, Bangladesh, 18 July, 2020
Flood-affected people are seen on water as they wait for a boat to cross a stream in Jamalpur, Bangladesh, 18 July, 2020Reuters

The flood situation has worsened further in the Ganges Basin due to heavy downpour and onrush of water from the upstream, while flood scenario continues to improve in Brahmaputra basin.

Continuous rise in water levels of most of the rivers in the Ganges basin contributed to further deterioration of the flood situation there, according to officials of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB).

Of the 30 river points monitored in Ganges basin on Tuesday, water levels increased at 18 points, while decreased at nine and remained stable at three points, aggravating the flood situation in chars and other low-lying areas of Rajshahi.

But, the rivers were flowing below the danger level at 23 points, while these were swelling up above the danger mark at six points this morning.

The rising trend of water levels in all river points, including Pankha, Rajshahi, Hardinge Bridge, Talbaria and Goalunda, were recorded in the last 24 hours ending at 9:00am today, said BWDB superintending engineer Mukhlesur Rahman.

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He said water level of the Ganges river went up by 5cm at Pankha point in Chapainawabganj, 4cm at Rajshahi point, and 3cm at Hardinge Bridge and Talbaria points each, while the Padma river water level increased by 1cm at Goalunda point.

Mukhlesur further said the Ganges river was flowing 159cm below the danger level at Rajshahi point and 166cm bellow at Pankha point.

As per the directives of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Ahmad Kaikaus asked the officials concerned to take steps to ensure transportation and communication, check riverbank erosion, and ensure health services, transportation of goods, relief distribution and food security in the flood-affected areas

Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, executive engineer of Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), said the water level in the Korotoa river increased by 2cm at Bogura point, while decreased by 24cm at Chak Rahimpur point.

The river was flowing 147cm and 5cm below the danger mark at the two stations respectively this morning, he added.

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The Jamuna river water level decreased by 13cm at Sariakandi in Bogura, 9cm at Kajipur in Sirajganj and 11cm at Sirajganj point. But the river was still flowing above 100cm, 84cm and 73cm of the danger mark at Sariakandi, Kazipur and Sirajganj points respectively.

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The water level of Gur river rose by 5cm at Singra point in Natore and was flowing 91cm above the danger mark. The Atrai river was flowing 112cm above the danger level at Baghabari point in Sirajganj with 1cm further rise.

Water level of the Mohananda river also decreased by 3cm at Rohanpur point in Chapainawabganj district and was flowing 76cm below the danger mark.

Despite sporadic incidents of riverbank erosion in major rivers in Brahmaputra basin, the overall flood situation improved there in the last 24 hours ending at 9:00am today, reports the news agency.

BWDB officials said water levels of all major rivers marked further fall during the period and were still flowing above the danger levels at nine points in five northern districts.

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To deal with the flood consequences, the district administrations have already intensified relief programmes in eight flood-hit northern districts.

BWDB executive engineer for Kurigram and Lalmonirhat divisions Ariful Islam said riverbank protection works continue at some vulnerable points in these districts where the flood situation is improving now.

BWDB chief engineer for Rangpur Zone Jyoti Prosad Ghosh said the sporadic incidents of riverbank erosion were reported at a few places along the major rivers in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur and Gaibandha districts.

The BWDB officials said water levels of the Dharla fell by 18cm at Kurigram and Ghagot river receded by 17cm at Gaibandha and Brahmaputra water level decreased by 20cm at Noonkhawa point and 10cm at Chilmari point during the last 24 hours.

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Besides, the water levels of the Jamuna fell by 17cm at Fulchhari point, 15cm at Bahadurabad point, 13cm at Sariakandi point, 9cm at Kazipur point and 11cm at Sirajganj point during the period ending 9:00am today.

The Brahmaputra was still flowing 20cm above the danger level at Noonkhawa point and 47cm above at Chilmari point, while the Dharla river 7cm above at Kurigram point and Ghagot River was flowing 54cm above the danger mark at Gaibandha point.

The Jamuna was flowing 79cm above the danger mark at Fulchhari point, 89cm above at Bahadurabad point, 100cm above at Sariakandi point, 84cm above at Kazipur point and 73cm above at Sirajganj point during the same period.

Meanwhile, the government has asked the authorities concerned to perform their responsibilities with utmost sincerity and devotion in carrying out relief and rescue operations as well as managing shelter centres in flood-hit districts.

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Prime minister’s principal secretary Ahmad Kaikaus came up with the instruction at a coordination meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) ini the cpaital today, a PMO press release said.

The meeting reviewed the country’s ongoing flood situation, relief and rehabilitation programmes, shelter centres management, rescue operations, assessment of loss and damage caused by flood in agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors and the overall flood management.

As per the directives of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Ahmad Kaikaus asked the officials concerned to take steps to ensure transportation and communication, check riverbank erosion, and ensure health services, transportation of goods, relief distribution and food security in the flood-affected areas.

He said the prime minister has already instructed to assess the loss caused in the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors due to flooding and provide incentives to these sectors.

The principal secretary urged the officials concerned to implement the instructions of the prime minister within shortest possible time.

In addition to this, he directed the authorities concerned to make overall preparation if the flood situation worsens during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha holidays.

Chaired by Ahmad Kaikaus, the meeting was attended, among others, by the senior secretaries of the water resources ministry and the agriculture ministry, and the secretaries of the PMO, fisheries and livestock ministry, the disaster management and relief ministry and the food ministry.