Residents of three northern districts who were among the first to bear the brunt of flooding caused by onrushing waters from upstream rivers saw no respite Sunday, as large parts of Kurigram, Shariatpur and Sunamganj remain inundated, with millions still marooned and their lives in dire straits.
Around three lakh people in flood-hit areas of Kurigram are facing a severe crisis of drinking water and food as the flood situation remained unchanged in the district. Relief provided by the government is proving inadequate and many are starving.
The Brahmaputra River was flowing 57 cm above its danger level at Chilmari point and 39 cm above the danger mark at Nunkhawa point while Dharla River was flowing 42 cm above the red mark, itself denoting severe flooding, on Sunday morning.
Civil Surgeon Dr Habibur Rahman said three more people including two children drowned in floodwaters on Saturday, bringing the tally to 16 till date in Kurigram.
In the district, flood damaged 50,000 houses, 10,000 hectares of crop-lands, 37 kilometers of roads and 31.5 kilometers of embankments in the district, according to District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Abdul Hye Sarkar.
The flood-hit people have been suffering a lot due to scarcity of pure drinking water as 22,000 tube-wells remain submerged. Besides, people who have taken shelter in many shelter homes are facing problems due to the poor sanitary systems.
Besides, five government primary schools have been wiped away by the Brahmaputra River while 139 schools were damaged by floodwater.
Meanwhile, erosion by the Teesta river has taken a serious turn at Burirhat in Rajarhat upazila of the district, intensifying woes of the flood-hit people.
The local Water Development Board authorities put up some sandbags to tackle the erosion.
Rezaul Karim, deputy commissioner of Kurigram, said “Adequate relief materials have been disbursed among the flood-affected people. Besides, rice will be distributed among over 4 lakh people before Eid. There is no shortage of relief materials as the government has taken steps to ensure food for the flood-affected people.”
During a recent visit to the flood-hit areas in the district, Superintendent of Police Mohibul Islam, said the officers-in-charge of 11 police stations have been asked to take steps for ensuring safety of people.
In Shariatpur, various areas of Naria, Jajira and Bhedorganj and Sadar upazilas have been inundated due to increasing water level in the Padma river.
In the last one week, 150 hectares of agricultural land, 500 meters of roads and 10 houses in the area have been washed away by the Padma.
At least 30 families including roads, crop lands of Shariatpur Sadar upazila, have been affected also in flood water.
Shariatpur Water Development Board said the river water will increase for 3 more days.
The administration also said that at least 30,000 families have been affected in two upazilas, Naira and Jajira.
SM Ahsan Habib, executive engineer of Shariatpur Water Development Board, said most of the dam site on the right bank of the Padma River in Naria-Jajira has been submerged. Sand-filled geobags have been put where cracks have been spotted in the embankment, he said.
According to BWDB sources, the water of Padma river was flowing at 10-12 cm above the danger level. At Sureshwar Point in Naria, Shariatpur, the water of Padma was flowing over 7/12 cm above the danger level on Sunday. The river water will increase further in the next three day, according to sources.
Naria Upazila Nirbahi Officer Jayanti Rupa Roy said the flood waters had inundated Kedarpur, Moktarchar and municipal areas of Naria Upazila, leaving around 2,000 people in Naria municipality marooned. At least 90 families have been affected in the flood water in the upazila. A list is being prepared from the upazila administration to distribute relief.
At least 30,000 families in the two upazilas of Naria and Jajira have been affected, she concurred, adding that shelters have been opened for flood victims. No one has come to the shelter yet. The list of victims has started to be prepared. Relief assistance will be provided once listed.
Roads collapse in Sunamganj
In Sunamganj district, the flood water caused a loss of over Tk 300 crore to the road network across seven upazilas.
Twenty-five roads in seven upazilas including Sadar, Chhatak, Dharmapasha, Doarabazar, Tahirpur, Bishwambharpur and Jamalganj have been severely damaged due to heavy rains and landslides. Some 600 kilometers of roads in these areas have been destroyed by floods, according to sources of the local government and engineering department.
Roads connecting more than 50 bridges and culverts have been cut off. Different parts of 22 roads of the district have been damaged and isolated.
As a result, thousands of people traveling in the district headquarters and other areas are suffering.
Cracks developed on Sunamganj Chhatak road in Katakhali during the first phase of this year’s flood. In the ongoing second phase the road broke down, causing the water to enter the local area through the broken part of the road, said the affected people.
The road has collapsed on a large scale due to the pressure of the flood water.
According to the department, 30 roads have been damaged by the floods. Besides, 30 village protection walls have been damaged.
Mahabub Alam, executive engineer of the department said the district's road infrastructure had been severely damaged by two consecutive floods.
“The first phase of the floods damaged more than 600 kilometers of roads and the damage may worsen in second phase,” he said.