The government water system and water capacity development research centre forecasts current flooding is unlikely to outlast floods of 1988
The state-owned Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services(CEGIS) said though the current flood situation could deteriorate further, it would not outlast the record set in 1988.
"But we need to take all out preparations as the flood situation could linger," said CEGIS Executive Director of Malik Fida A Khan. The flood of 1988 is considered the worst in Bangladesh's history.
Khan, also a member of the National River Conservation Commission, said this at a webinar of the Ministry of Water Resources on Wednesday.
State minister for the Water Resources ministry Zahid Faruk and Deputy Minister AKM Enamul Haque Shamim were connected to the virtual meeting on flood situation management, forecasting and preparedness.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday that flooding in Bangladesh may be the longest since the one in 1988, according to forecasts.
The situation is still evolving, and it is unlikely that the water will start receding before next month, the OCHA said in its daily briefing.
At the meeting, Executive Director of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre Arifuzzaman Bhuyan said 16 rivers were flowing above the danger point until Wednesday morning.
He said that the Jamuna and the Padma would continue to swell until next Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, and then the water levels might recede.
Taking part in the discussion, Prof Dr Saiful Islam and Dr Mohammad Mostafa urged the ministry to examine why the embankments get damaged every time, and need repairing time and again.
The water resource specialists also called for strengthening and modernising the flood forecasting system.
Meantime, State Minister Zahid Faruk ordered the field level water resource engineers to stand by flood-hit people.
Zahid Faruk said, "Government officials of ranks ranging from chief engineer to executive engineer have to work with sincerity. The public officials must be present at vulnerable flooding zones, intensify monitoring and remain alert with plenty of sandbags to be dumped at eroded river points."
He asked the water resource engineers to maintain coordination with local public representatives and the local administration.
Noting the country's capability to tackle natural disaster-led damages, Deputy Minister AKM Enamul Haque Shamim said Bangladesh is better prepared now than at any previous time to combat natural calamities due to the strong leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
"The field-level Water Development Board officials are working relentlessly round the clock. All the flood-prone districts will be brought under permanent embankment projects in future," he added.
The deputy minister reminded the field officials about health safety measures to avert coronavirus infection. He said, "Work keeping the safety issue in mind and inform the ministry if you get infected with the virus."
Shamim said the field officials would remain at their respective workstations during the Eid holidays.