In the space of barely a week, some 37 people have died across 21 districts of Bangladesh during the latest, prevailing period of intensification in the country’s annual monsoon-induced floods.
Briefing reporters on Wednesday evening after yet another day that contributed to increasing the death toll, additional secretary to the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry Golam Mostafa revealed a stream of grim statistics.
“So far total 3,287,000 (32.87 lakh or nearly 3.3 million) people were affected in 21 districts and 172,217 hectares of paddy fields were damaged during the recent flood,” Golam Mostafa said.
During the briefing at the Secretariat, the additional secretary also confirmed 37 people had died in the floods, while 752,000 families were partially affected by the flood.
A total of 411,000 people had taken shelter in 1,599 shelter centres across the country, according to the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.
So far they have distributed 3,255 metric tons of rice and over 1.32 crore packets of dry food among the flood-affected people, he added.
Meanwhile, the flood continued the northern parts of the country and subtly marching towards the mid land.
The water levels of major rivers including the Teesta, Dharla, Brahmaputra, Jamuna and Dhaleswari, continued rising at Gaibandha, Shariakandi, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Naogaon districts, although receding water levels are reported from Panchagarh, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Bhusirbandar, Kurigram, and Kaunia districts, according to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, an initiative of the Water Development Board under the Water Resources Ministry.
In Dinajpur, body of a man was recovered and another was washed away in flood water raising the death toll from the floods all over the country to 36.
The deceased -identified as Shariful - went missing two days ago from Kanchanbazar area in the district.
The other one still officially presumed to be missing but most likely to be the 37th death recorded in the official count was identified as Dulal, of Atrai village. He was last seen being washed away this morning while fishing in the overflowing Karatoa River, locals said.
Earlier on Tuesday more people, including two children, lost their lives in Chirirbandar upazila.
District Administration control room’s Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Mokhlesur Rahman told UNB that Rina Akter, 10, daughter of Iman Ali of Nanderai village, Arafat, 7, son of Aminul Islam of Uttar Para village, and Fajiruddin, 60, son of Shamsher Ali of Usufpur union drowned in floodwaters.
On the other hand, Majeda Begum, 65, wife of late Hafizuddin of Amorpur union, died as he was crushed under a wall that collapsed due to flood.
That means 18 of the 37 victims – nearly half - who have lost their lives in the current spell of severe flooding in the northern districts came from Dinajpur.Nine people have now died in Lalmonirhat, three in Nilphamari, two in Thakurgaon, two in Kurigram and one each in Netrakona and Sirajganj.
Overall flood situation is improving in eight upazilas of the district while Army members were distributing dry food and medical assistance to the people of the affected areas.
This afternoon whip Iqbalur Rahim and area commander of Bangladesh army in Rangpur visited the flood-affected areas.
In Kurigram, another two people were washed away by the floodwaters on Wednesday morning and are presumed dead.
The deceased is identified as Monsar Ali, son of Saber Ali of Goalipara in Jatrapur and Ketari Beoa, widow of Gablu Sheikh of Kalaipara in Jatrapur.
At least 1200 families took shelter on the Wapda embankment of Farajipara, and are suffering from extreme lack of safe water, food and sanitation.
In Sirajganj, the flood situation worsened following continued rise in the water levels of the Jamuna.
"The Jamuna River was flowing 146 centimetres above the danger level at Sirajganj point at 6:00 am,” said executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Sirajganj Syed Hasan Imam.
Fresh areas were inundated as water level of the Jamuna River had risen by 19 centimetres in the last 24 hours, he added.
Low-lying areas of Sadar, Kajipur, Belkuchi, Chouhali and Shahjadpur upazilas remained submerged by Jamuna water since Tuesday.
In Sherpur, water level of the Brahmaputra River rose by 50 centimetres in last 24 hours at Sherpur Ferry Ghat point due to the onrush of water from the upstream and torrential rainfall, said sources at Sherpur Water Development Board.
As a result, the water started rolling down over Sherpur-Jamalpur road, submerging at least 25 villages in the sadar upazila.
In Jamalpur, a teenager died and another two went missing after being washed away in flood water.
The deceased is identified as Zillur Rahman, 15, son of Liakat Ali of Nagerpra in municipality.
Local police and people are trying to trace the other missing persons, said officer-in-charge of Melandaha Police Station.
In Nilphamari, flood water has started to recede but people’s suffering knows no bounds for the lack of relief materials.
A total of 221 families did not receive any government relief and are starving without food.
A large amount of paddy fields were destroyed inundating at least eight embankments, 10 roads and four culverts, locals alleged.
In Naogaon, the flood situation turned into more devastating role freshly flooding eight more upazilas in last 24 hours.
Most of the schools, colleges and madrassahs were shut as flood water started to enter into the sadar upazila.
In Lalmonirhat, overall flood situation improved but people are running out of food and safe water while around 400,000 people remain marooned and cut off by flood waters submerging section of their localities.
Only 241 tons of rice and Tk 875,000 had been allocated to the district, where 400,000 people are in need of relief – at just over Tk 2 per head, clearly not enough.
The northern district has seen its transportation system break down, while at least 197 educational institutes were forced to close.
District Commissioner Shafiur Arif sounded a note of optimism saying the flood situation “is improving gradually”. But while confirming over 240 tons of rice and other relief material had been distributed already, band all the relief materials were distributed already.
In Bogra, flood situation continues to deteriorate as at least 91 villages in Sariakandi, Sonatola and Dhunot upazilas were submerged by flood water trapping more than 100,000 people.
Already 3000 people have taken shelter on the flood-control embankment and each day the number of people doing so – taken as a sort of last resort – keeps rising alarmingly.
Executive engineer of Water Development Board Ruhul Amin said they are working to secure the embankment.
Total of 85 educational institutes were forced to close.
The swelling water of Atrai River has started to enter into Natore this morning triggering fear among the locals.
The flood water has already inundated swathes along the Singra-Baliari road.
In Goalananda of Rajbari, the Padma River is flowing 76cm above the danger level and rising further.
At least ten primary schools were shut as flood water engulfed the class rooms.
Most of the areas of Ujanchar, Debgram and Sotobhakla union were submerged and continues to swell fresh areas.
Debgram UP chairman Atar Ali said people are increasingly taking shelter on roads and the town protection embankment. They need food and water urgently, Atar Ali insisted.