Youth Net for Climate Justice activists hold a protest in a river in Satkhira on Friday, urging sustainable action to tackle the impacts of climate change. – Photo New Age
The low formed over the central Bay of Bengal is likely to slow the floodwaters flowing into the sea from today, severely affecting lives and livelihoods in central Bangladesh, parts of which resemble now to islands scattered over a gigantic body of water.
The minimum likely to move to West Bengal lands, as the deep low between Sunday and Monday could continue to drag seawater inland over the next five days, forecasters warned.
Forecasters also said the low is likely to be filled with a huge amount of rain, which will be partly relieved along the coast, especially in the Sunderbans, Khulna and Barishal, while the rest will float towards the upper watershed.
“The effects of the depression will be felt from today, as rivers will flow very slowly under its influence,” said senior meteorologist Abdul Mannan.
The influence of the depression is expected to persist over the next five days amid the influx of upstream water, often in large volumes depending on when the transboundary dams are arbitrarily opened by India.
Many places along the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in India still witness rivers overflowing. This is a sign that the upstream water flow will continue for some time.
The precipitation caused by the depression is likely to exacerbate the existing flooding.
“In places, the low can cause more than 200mm of rain while parts of Bangladesh can receive around 100mm of rain under the influence of the low,” said Biswajit Nath, who teaches geography and environmental studies at Chittagong University.
Lately floodwaters have been slow to recede due to adverse conditions at sea such as higher than usual rising tide.
In recent years, floodwaters have not been able to flush into the sea without flooding coastal lands, Biswajit Nath said, adding that sometimes the flooding continued for weeks.
Many villages in central Bangladesh were completely submerged in floodwaters for around three weeks, now damaging cropland.
The boat has become the only means of communication in many villages where entire unions were inundated a few days ago.
“Water is everywhere you look around,” said Sanjida Hossain, a resident of Mirzapur, Tangail.
The daily flood report from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said that more than a lakh of people in 120 villages were affected by the flooding in Tangail district alone.
Only parts of the farms are now visible while a few small portions of land above the water are the only refuges for the livestock.
With their cultivated land under floodwater, farmers are struggling to feed their livestock.
The daily flood situation report indicates that 192 houses were washed away by the flooding in Shariatpur district.
The Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, however, said in its daily flood bulletin that the country’s major rivers are down, a trend likely to continue for the next 72 hours until 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
Six rivers – the Padma, Dhaleswari, Turga, Atrai, Kaliganga and Meghna – were flowing above their danger levels at seven locations until 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, according to the FFWC.
The Padma was sinking more than half a meter above the danger level at Sureswar.