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Erosion

The major rivers such as the Jamuna, Ganges and Padma annually consume several thousand hectares of floodplain making thousands of people landless and homeless every year. Along with the floodplain Bangladesh loses several kilometer of roads and railways, and flood embankments annually. A number of cities and towns such as Chandpur, Rajshahi and Faridpur are also threatened by erosion. During the last three decades The Jamuna, Ganges and Padma rivers have consumed 180,000 ha. This amount excludes the annual erosion along the other major rivers and also in the Meghna estuary where the amount of erosion was also very high. The rate of erosion along the major rivers may vary from one period to other. From the 1970s to early the 1990s, the extent of mean annual erosion was about 3,300 hectares along both banks of the Jamuna River. During the last decade erosion along the river seems to have diminished slightly ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 hectare per year. The mean annual erosion along the Padma River was 1,400 ha/year, while it increased to 2200 ha/year in 1990s. The mean annual rate of erosion along the Ganges almost remains the same over the last 3 decades.

BWDB with its limited resources are trying to protect different cities and important locations from riverbank erosion. BWDB has been protecting Sirajganj, Rajshahi and Chandpur towns against the severe attack of the Jamuna, Ganges and Meghna for the last several decades. But it appears to be a tiny effort if we compare it with the extent of erosion vulnerable areas. Several hundred kilometers of riverbank is remained vulnerable to erosion.

Given the geo-morphological development of the rivers and the prevailing socioeconomic context of Bangladesh, it would not be feasible to protect the riverbank erosion fully. In such a situation, non-structural measures, like the prediction of erosion when and where applicable could be an alternative to minimize the suffering of the people and national loses of erosion. Under the framework of EMIN project BWDB is now trying to institutionalize the prediction of erosion.

2. River Erosion in Bangladesh: Problems and Initiatives (Internet Edition) (September, 2007) The nature of the river-eroded region is totally different. People are always in threat when shall the tide will rush over them and will snatch away their trees and households. Chandpurs Haimchor Upazila. Although, once this Upazila existed with extensive areas, but at present, in reality, the land area of this Upazila is almost way towards the end. Almost all have been grasped by the river ... each year the same thing happens. There is incessant threat in the households just beside Meghna. For the last 40 years, at least more than half lacs of families were victims of Meghna erosion. The total area of Haimchor was 250 Sq Km. At present, statistically though the area is mentioned 174.49 Sq Km. but in reality not even 100 Sq. Km would be there to be found! From the mainland of the Upazila, 99% of lands of Nilkomol and Haimchor Union went into the river straightway. Since 1965, massive erosions started taking place in this 250 year old community. Each year the same process is on. The part of the land that is eroding is not rising at that rate on the other part. You dont have to go far to find the images of misery of these river-eroded people. Food preparations of some child members of the family really represent the pathetic image of the river-eroded region. The flowing river is the focal point of blessing to the people of the river-irrigated Bangladesh. The locality, trade, agriculture and most of the part of the livelihood is river-concerned. Favaourable communication system in water-way, the flourishment of wealth and the agriculture-friendly water flow/current has made this locality green with corn from the very early period. The spontaneous overflow at the river banks during rainy season, the sharpness of tides ... among all these people expected a little bit more from the river. There was also the threat of loosing, but it was not that much. Many rivers are flowing all over the river-irrigated Bangladesh. Due to the time-lapse, the environment is becoming rigid, trees are decreasing at the river banks, the climate is becoming intolerable, so many rivers have already lost their existence, few have lost its routes and few are upholding different features in their location and existence. In the Bengali tradition, natures most significant part is river. Many stories and myths are synchronized with this concept. On the other hand, the stories that are being made regarding the famous rivers for so many years are actually of millions of people loosing their household and wealth... history of obliteration of many communities from inside the land boundary of the motherland. Each year, millions suffer river erosion. River-bed grasps the cultivable lands, households and many establishments. From a statistics its observed that among 496 Upazilas of 64 districts, more than 96 Upazilas regularly fall in river erosion. During the rainy season, overflowing of water on the river banks, rupture of river banks and change in bank lines is a common picture. Once river erosion was only restricted in the fallen cultivable lands of the alluvial lands, but due to the time-lapse, this erosion is coming forward towards the urban community. Each year educational institutions of different areas of the country, market infrastructure and bridges and culverts go down into the river-bed, for which the normal lifestyle faces strain, land-lost and homeless peoples number creeps up, marginal farmers are bound to leave their profession and there are numerous instances of a successful farmer becoming a simple agricultural labour due to the river erosion. Just after the rainy season, the rivers face massive erosion and specially when during each day of Bhadra and Ashwin at least a good number of localities go

down in the river, at the same time the people at the river banks live each moment in terrible peril. The way it is now passing. Due to severe erosion at different points of Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Tista, Bramhaputra, Kushiara along with all the rivers, each day ancestral abodes, cultivable lands and many establishments are being obliterated. When the crop-lost marginal farmer is in terrible despair, the river doesnt wait to grasp the lands existence. Nonetheless, this is a very natural case for the people of the riverside and alluvial lands. The torrent rivers after rupturing their shores create alluvial lands at some other place. Still, there is existence of more than 250 rivers in Bangladesh. The way hundreds of villages go into the river-bed, the same way hundreds of sand-areas take birth. Total area of the alluvial lands in 5 major rivers in Bangladesh is 1,723 Sq Km. And, at least 22 lac land-lost families live here who basically are the witness of the river erosion. Each male and female has numerous personal reminiscence and experience of being a river erosion victim. Their life, family ... Everything is missing. The river-eroded families seem never to stand up again. The history of massive erosion in our country is not too old. As the environment is facing threat, thats why river erosion is creeping up. Just after the flood, yet another ever-grasping natural disaster is river erosion. During the last 34 years, thousands of acres of lands were eliminated at the major river-bank areas. Among these, 2,20,000 acres at Jamuna bank and 95,119 acres at Padma bank went into the river; cultivable lands, ancestral abodes, markets, government and private establishments, roads, bridges, culverts also went along. Due to the continuous process of river erosion, governmental and private sectors, and even foreign aid agencies took many steps. In reality, river erosion didnt end. If temporary preventions are taken, it doesnt take long to be wiped out as well. Concerning prevention of river erosion at the major river-eroded area Chandpurs Haimchor Upazila, government has many different programmes and agendas this time as well. Regularly, regarding misuse of the governmental and fund agency aids, criticisms of many irregularities and corruption comes up. Fact is, the distressed people dont get any result for this. The local people of the Haimchor area are mostly hopeful this time, regarding the local programmes to prevent river erosion. If one side goes down, the other side grows up ... this is how the river plays. Although the proverb is very popular but the reality is river erosion are getting more and more dominating day by day. The rate, in which its rupturing, isnt the same rate the alluvial lands are growing. Rivers are loosing its depth and lands are decreasing day by day, which is another devastating matter. We hope that creating natural water-flow and to prevent river erosion, effective and long-term governmental enterprise will be taken. Besides, for the last 35-40 years, the marginal populace who lost all their properties in the river, among them the enterprise of proper distribution of lands in the alluvial lands should be taken.