Staff Reporter :
At least ten people drowned in Kurigram and Dinajpur districts as the flood situation in the country's north and northeast regions worsened further on Sunday with the rising of water level in the major rivers following heavy rains and onrush of water from the upstream.
Army and BGB have been deployed in the worst affected areas of the districts to rescue the marooned people, official sources said.
About 300 villages in nine upazilas of Kurigram district were inundated due to rise in water level in Brahmaputra, Teesta, Dharla and Dudhkumar rivers.
Rail communications between Kurigram Sadar and two of its upazilas remain suspended since yesterday morning as the rail tracks at different points on Kurigram-Chilmari route have become unfit for train movement due to flood waters.
Meanwhile, lakhs of people in Rangpur, Dinajpur, Jamalpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon, Bogra, Sirajganj and Brahmanbaria districts were marooned for the fourth straight day on Sunday due to heavy rains and flood waters over the past few days. As reported, the flood bypass road on the Teesta Barrage broke down due to opening of 54 gates of Gajoldoba Barrage in India and onrush of water coupled with heavy rain in the last five days in Lalmonirhat district.
Local office of Bangladesh Water Development Board on Sunday morning issued red alert in Teesta Barrage area, asking the people living in 63 chars of Teesta and Dharala to keep updated with the latest flood situation.
Besides, several thousand people in the affected areas remained cut off from the rest of the country after surging rivers, triggered by heavy downpour broke through mud embankments and swamped villages.
The flood also displaced large number of people, washed away their agricultural crops and vegetables, damaged houses and forced the educational institutions shutdown.
Waterborne diseases, including diarrhoea, were spreading to the affected districts as many fresh areas were inundated by the floodwaters.
The affected people are passing their days in great misery with their belongings including domestic animals and poultry birds for want of shelter, food and drinking water.
The flood-hit people, who took shelter on the flood control embankment and in school and college buildings, are facing acute crisis of food and pure drinking water.
The river erosion and stagnant floodwater destroyed hectares of the farmers' croplands and engulfed innumerable houses of the people.
The shuttle rail communication on Thakurgaon and Pachaghar route also remained suspended since Saturday as floodwaters were flowing over the rail tracks in different places due to heavy rain.
Meanwhile, Flood Forecasting and warning Centre (FFWC) warned that country's northern and northeastern regions may witness severe floods, if the current rising trend of the major rivers continues for the next few days.
"Low-lying areas of northern and northeastern parts of the country may be flooded as the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, Ganges-Padma and Surma-Kushiyara are in the rising trend due to heavy rainfall" Md Sazzad Hossain, executive engineer of FFWC, told journalists yesterday.
"The rising trend of the major rivers may continue for the next three to four days as two Indian states-Assam and Arunachal-are also experiencing heavy rainfall, meaning northern and northeastern regions of Bangladesh may be inundated by severe flood," he added.
Low-lying areas of the country are normally affected by floodwater during the months of July and August, Sazzad said adding, "We are forecasting that flood may hit the country this month as monsoon is very active over Bangladesh."
Water levels at 77 rivers stations monitored by FFWC have marked increase and 12 stations recorded fall on Sunday.
Among the 90 monitored river stations, 25 river stations are flowing above danger level, a bulletin of FFWC said yesterday.
The Brahmaputra-Jamuna, Ganges-Padma and Surma-Kushiyara rivers are in rising trend.
The Brahmaputra-Jamuna and Ganges-Padma rivers may likely to continue rising in next 72 hours while Surma-Kushiyara rivers may likely to continue rising in next 24.
The rainfall was recorded 100.0 mm at seven stations and 50.0 mm at 20 stations across the country during the last 24 hours ending yesterday.
The highest rainfall was recorded 200.0 mm at Lorergarh station and minimum rainfall was recorded 52 mm at Sylhet station. In Rangpur, the flood situation sharply deteriorated following heavy rains coupled with huge onrush of water from the upstream during past 24 hours till Sunday morning marooning some five lakh people putting them in miseries in the Brahmaputra basin. The Brahmaputra, Jamuna, Dharla, Ghaghot, Jamuneswari, Punorvoba, Upper Atrai and Tangon rivers were flowing above their respective danger mark at 13 points in Kurigram, Rangpur, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Bogra and Sirajganj on Sunday.
According to the Water Development Board (WDB) sources, deterioration of flood situation might continue further during the next 72 hours as huge onrush of water still continues from the upstream. Officials in the district administrations and local public representatives said nearly five lakh people have become marooned in the low-lying and char areas.
"We have started dumping sand- and geo-textile bags at four vulnerable points of the flood control embankments under four unions of Gangachara upazila," said WDB's Executive Engineer for Rangpur Mahbubur Rahman.
Rail communications from Burimari Land Port under Patgram upazila to Hatibandha upazila in Lalmonirhat with other parts of the country were snapped as flood water started flowing over the rail lines since this morning.
District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer of Rangpur Faridul Haque said 22,526 families of 92 villages under 21 unions of Gangachara, Pirgachha, Kawnia and Badarganj upazilas have been marooned in the district. The Department of Agriculture Extension sources said standing Aman seedbeds on 705 hectares, Transplanted T-Aman on 1.29 lakh hectares and vegetables on 2,996 hectares of land already submerged under floodwater in all five districts under Rangpur Agriculture Zone alone. In Lalmonirhat, more than two lakh people of 30 unions in the district's five upazilas-Patgram, Kaliganj, Hatibandha, Aditmari and Sadar-have been marooned by floodwaters as both the Teesta and Dharla rivers were flowing above the danger level.
Meanwhile, 18 villages went under water as Itpota dam, Shiberkhuti and Khatamari dams in Moghalhat area of Sadar upazila have broken down due to heavy current of the river. Patgram town saving embankment also collapsed.
WDB Lalmonirhat deputy-Assistant Engineer Kamrul Islam said, "We have started dumping GO bags (sandbags) to prevent erosion at the vulnerable points of the barrage."
District Education Officer Nobez Uddin said a total of 168 educational institutions in the district were declared closed for floodwaters. Several thousands farmers have to face heavy losses as more than 300 ponds were washed away by flashfloods, said Rezaul Karim, district fisheries officer.
Lalmonirhat deputy commissioner Shafiul Arif said that overall flood situation in the district has turned serious, leaving more than two lakh people marooned. Bus and train connection have declared suspended due to the floods.
On last Sunday, some 1,600 packets of dry foods have been distributed among the flood-affected people, he added.
In Netrakona, the water of the Someshwari River has been flowing 150 centimetres over the danger mark due to the incessant rainfall for the last couple of days and onrush of water from the upstream, leaving more than 30 villages in Durgapur upazila inundated. Residents of those areas have been passing measurable lives as roads have gone under water.
All educational institutions of the affected areas have been submerged while several fisheries have washed away by the floodwaters. Durgapur upazila agriculture officer Omar Faruk said around 500 hectares of paddy field will be damaged if the water level increases. In Gaibandha, water levels in all the major rivers, including Brahmaputra and the Ghagot, have marked rise in the last 24 hours ending at 9 am on Sunday due to incessant rain and onrush of hilly water from the upstream.
The officials of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) said the water level in the Brahmaputra rose by 57 cm, the Ghagot 56 cm, the Karatoa 84 cm and the Teesta 50 cm during the period.
Of them, the Brahmaputra was flowing 29 cm above its danger level at Fulchharighat point of the district while the Ghagot was flowing 08 cm over the danger mark at New Bridge Road point. Executive Engineer of WDB, Gaibandha Mahbubur Rahman said, "The Brahmaputra was flowing over its danger mark, officials and employees remain alert to protect 78 km-embankment from erosion."