55 killed, millions affected as floods hit large parts of Bangladesh
Dhaka, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- At least 55 people have been killed and over two million affected in Bangladesh since the beginning of this month due to monsoon floods submerging nearly one-third of the country’s territory, authorities said Friday.
The ministry of disaster management and relief said in a report on Friday that flood waters have swept into 18 of the total 64 districts in the country, affecting 2.33 million people.
“Water (has) started receding from some districts of the northern region but we have reports that a few more districts were flooded newly,” ministry secretary Mohammad Mohsin told EFE.
“We are in touch with the local administration of the affected districts and have instructed everyone to strengthen relief efforts,” he said, adding that the ministry has opened nearly 1500 shelters in these districts.
Ayesha Akther, a spokesperson of the health emergency operations control room, said that at least 55 people had died in Bangladesh in flood-related incidents since June 30.
The northern Kurigram and central Jamalpur districts were among the worst affected, having reported 14 deaths each, she told EFE.
Meanwhile 9 people have died in the Lalmonirhat district and 7 were killed in Gaibandha, both situated in the northern part of the country.
The two major rivers in the Kurigram district, Brahmaputra – that flows from Tibet via Indian territory – and Dharla, were both still flowing much above the danger mark.
“We have Brahmaputra flowing 91 cm (36 inches) above the danger mark and Dharla flowing 59 cm above danger mark today,’ Ariful Islam, executive engineer of the Bangladesh Water Development Board in the district, told EFE on Friday.
He said that the situation had slightly improved in the recent days as the Brahmaputra had been flowing 103 cm above the danger mark last week, but sustained water-logging in various localities continued to be a major problem.
Authorities have warned that the worst of the crisis might not be over yet.
“We have already seen two phases of flooding and there could be another phase from next week,” said Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, the head of Bangladesh’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Center.
He told EFE that this year the floods seemed to be more severe than regular monsoon flooding, and more areas could be affected in the next phase.
Heavy rains have lashed the entire region over the last few weeks, with floods killing 66 people in the neighboring Indian state of Assam by Thursday.
Located in the Ganges delta at little altitude above sea level and with a fifth of its territory covered by rivers or their tributaries, Bangladesh is struck every year between June and September by floods sparked by monsoon rains. EFE-EPA