Floods sparked by rising rivers trap thousands in Bangladesh

June 23rd, 2008 - 2:05 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 23 (DPA) Rising rivers boosted by monsoon torrents forced a barrage to crumble in northern Bangladesh Sunday with scores of villages cut off and an estimated 15,000 people trapped in the swirling water, officials said. Culverts were washed away making roads inaccessible while trains ran slowly on flooded railroads in northern Rangpur region, said Atiqur Rahman, a senior barrage engineer from Nilphamari district.

Rice terraces were swamped by the flood water gurgling down the Assam hills on the porous India-Bangladesh border.

“We are in close touch with the Indian authorities and are constantly exchanging information on water levels in the shared rivers and the volume of rainfall on both sides of the common border,” Rahman said.

The multi-million dollar barrage on the Teesta river was threatened by the onrush of water at the weekend as the sluice gates of the Indian Gojaldoba barrage in the upstream were opened to ease the pressure on the concrete structure.

The water levels in the major northern rivers Teesta and Brahmaputra were at least 30 centimetres above the danger mark, the flood warning centre in Dhaka said.

Emergency repairs were carried out on the soggy Teesta barrage.

Nearly 3,500 people fled their inundated huts as rivers running in spate engulfed the low-lying settlements in the worst affected Gangachara sub-district.

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