The Monsoon Flood of 2020 is having a total effect on Bangladesh's North, North-East, and South-east, where a quarter of the country was flooded. Approximately 80% of rainfall falls in the Bangladeshi Monsoon season (June to October). Monsoon rains usually cause some flood level but authorities have said this may be the hardest flood in a decade and the longest since 1998 when water levels were 63 days above the level of risk. However, in the past, such long-term floods in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna River never began so early.
Monsoon Flood Geographical Summary
In total 34,002 (24 percent) square kilometer of land has been inundated since the first flood in the last week of June. According to NDRCC data from the Bangladeshi government, Monsoon Flood 2020 had an impact in more or less 21 districts across the country by the end of July 2020. The inundation had been impacted 102 Upazila and 654 unions of the 21 districts. Some of the most affected areas, notably the areas of Jamalpur, Sunamganj, Sylhet, Tangail, Kurigram, Gaibandha, and Netrokona, were inundated by over 50 percent. In these 21 districts, 16 districts have been worst affected, with moderate to severe effects in relation to all the physical dimensions (e.g. inundation, erosion, waterlogging).
By July 2020, the National Disaster Response Coordination Center (NDRCC) report shows that 3.3 million people are affected and that 102 Upazila and 654 unions in the 21 districts, 16 districts of which are moderate to severely affected. 7,31,958 households are inundated. Since 30 June 2020, 83 people have already lost their lives, mainly as a result of drowning. The Public Health and Engineering Department (DPHE) estimates that 73,343 tube-wells and 81,179 latrines have been damaged. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) estimates that croplands were affected on approximately 1,10,696 hectares of land.
The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has closely monitored the situation and coordinated it with all appropriate government and non-governmental partners through its Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR). In preparation of the monsoon flood in 2020, the government of Bangladesh, Ministry of Disaster Management and Assistance (MoDMR), has taken all necessary measures to minimize the lives and livelihoods. Earlier alert massage, evacuation, shelter management, etc are managed by the MoDMR. The MoDMR also offered emergency assistance for the districts most likely to experience serious repercussions (rice, bread, currency, children's care, animal feed, cost of home repairs, and corrugated iron sheet).
Moreover, the Health Emergency Operations Center and Control Room of the Department of General Health Services (DGHS) is open 24/7 as well as local control rooms. 627 Emergency Medical Units have already been developed and 1772 medical teams have been mobilized.
Factors of Flooding in Bangladesh
In the opinion of the expert, the following are the different climates and planning factors contributing to the changes in the flood characteristics in Bangladesh:
- Rapid urbanization has transformed the land area with more and more impermeable surfaces. These changes in land cover prevent natural infiltration of rainfall in the land and increased direct drainage.
- Loss of natural resources by unauthorized destruction of wetlands and flood fields raises the river system's flood flows.
- The building of embankments prevents water from entering the flood land and also disrupts the role of the flood plain in attenuating the flood peak.
- The degradation and transformation of natural forests into land increases soil erosion and river loading of sediment.
- Structural changes through the building of highways over flood plains or flood control schemes adversely affect the natural drainage system.
- Since 1964 in Bangladesh A total of 7,555km of embankments, including 4,000km in the coastal areas, 7,907 hydraulic structures, including sluices, and around 1,000 river regulators, 1,082 river closures, and 3,204km of drainage channels have been constructed.
Instead of flood prevention, flood management programs and strategies should be based on reducing flood destruction. Both structural and non-structural approaches are included in Bangladesh's flood control policies. Some of the measurements are as follows:
- Construction of embankments parallel to river Banks is the main structural steps introduced in Bangladesh. Through excavating and installing regulators or sluices, the drainage capacity of the channel may also be increased.
- Non-structural flood-management initiatives, such as flood forecasting and early warning, or flood-proofing by increasing homesteads above flood level, may also minimize flood risks.
- The basin-specific management of the floods will further reduce the country's risk of floods through transboundary cooperation and knowledge sharing, institutional change, integrated water management (IWRM), and adaptive delta management (AMM).
- River preparation practice, such as groins, revetment, and porcupine, should be done to protect the bank from erosion.
- Daily maintenance and urgent repair of the bank are necessary. Community engagement would help to sustain the banks. The slope of the embankment can be protected by geo-textiles.
- Any illicit settlement of the banks should not be permitted. People live on flood banks should be rehabilitated.
- Suitable building material should be used. All poor peat soils should be replaced by clay soil.
- Roads and embankments should not be built to create water congestions or delay flooding. There should be appropriate cross drainage systems
In order to reduce flood risks Bangladesh and other South Asian economies including India, Nepal, Bhutan and China should continue their regional cooperation on basin-specific flood control and flood knowledge sharing to fulfill UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2030.