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Heavy Rains, Overflowing Rivers Force 400K People in Bangladesh to Flee from their Homes

At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week

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People move along a flooded road in Gaibandha, Bangladesh July 18, 2019. VOA

Rain-swollen rivers in Bangladesh broke through at least four embankments, submerging dozens of villages and doubling the number of people fleeing their homes overnight to 400,000 in one of the worst floods in recent years, officials said Friday.

Heavy rains and overflowing rivers have swamped 23 districts in northern and northwestern Bangladesh, officials said. At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week.

“The government has opened more than 1,000 temporary shelters but due to deep waters and lack of communications, many people aren’t able to reach them,” Raihana Islam, an official in the flood-afflicted district of Bogra, told Reuters.

Islam said scores of people had instead camped on embankments, railway lines and highways, where traffic has come to a standstill. Aside from concern over crops, authorities are also worried that rising flood waters could take a toll on livestock.

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At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week. Pixabay

Flooding severe

South Asia receives monsoon rains between June and October that often lead to floods later in the season, but the intensity of the deluge in Bangladesh is uncommon. “The severity of the flood of this year is worse compared to recent years,” Ariful Islam, an executive engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board, said.

The floods worsened after three embankments on the Brahmaputra river, which flows down from the Himalayas, through northeastern India and into Bangladesh, gave way late Thursday, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, an official in the federal agriculture ministry.

“The onrush of water submerged a vast area along with several dozen villages,” he told Reuters.

Millions displaced in India

In the neighboring Indian state of Assam, floods on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries since last week displaced some 5.8 million people, but the situation has improved with waters receding, a state minister said.

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Water levels were also coming down in the northern Indian state of Bihar, where floods have killed at least 78 people. VOA

“While some people have started going back to their homes, about 70% continue to remain in makeshift relief camps,” Assam Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta said.

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Water levels were also coming down in the northern Indian state of Bihar, where floods have killed at least 78 people. “We are now taking measures to prevent outbreak of any disease,” Manish Kumar, the emergency officer at Bihar’s worst flood-hit district of Sitamarhi, told Reuters.

Two people died in Sri Lanka and five were missing because of heavy rain that forced hundreds to flee their homes across the island nation, the state-run Disaster Management Center said. The central districts of Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura were the worst affected. (VOA)

Next Story

Researchers Develop Novel Statistical Method to Predict Floods and its Duration

It is also possible to predict how long the duration of flooding and inundation will be, they said

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At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel statistical model for prediction of floods and its duration. It also accurately determines the timescale of flooding. “It is possible to predict the duration of floods by coupling atmospheric dynamics and land surface conditions in the watershed,” said study researcher Nasser Najibi from the City College of New York.

For the study published in the journal Nature Research, researchers analysed data from the Missouri river basin from the last 50 years to develop the Bayesian network statistical model.

The research team found that long duration floods first require high flow conditions in rivers created by recurrent high-intensity rainfall events, which is then followed by a large stable long-lived low-pressure system — a storm cell. These conditions may then result in large-scale devastating floods.

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It is also possible to predict how long the duration of flooding and inundation will be, they said. VOA

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In shorter duration, however, this land-atmospheric coupling is negligible thus explaining why not all storms result in widespread flooding.

The researchers said that with the help of this statistical model, potential risk imposed by longer duration floods on critical infrastructure systems such as flood control dams, bridges and power plants can be mitigated. It is also possible to predict how long the duration of flooding and inundation will be, they said. (IANS)