Climate Change

A quarter of Bangladesh under water, NASA photos reveal

The flooding this year could be the worst in a decade and the longest-lasting since 1988

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 03 August 2020
A NASA image taken on July 25, 2020, showing the inundation of the country's northeastern part in navy blue. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory
A NASA image taken on July 25, 2020, showing the inundation of the country's northeastern part in navy blue. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory A NASA image taken on July 25, 2020, showing the inundation of the country's northeastern part in navy blue. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

Nearly a quarter of Bangladesh has been inundated with floodwaters, according to latest satellite images of the country captured by NASA recently.

The NASA Earth Observatory website first posted the images on August 1, 2020. Two images show northeast Bangladesh on June 2 and July 25. Water appears navy blue and black; clouds are white or cyan; and vegetation is bright green.

The image captured on July 25, 2020, shows an enormous patch of blue on the map, where floodwaters have inundated. In the June 2 photo, the blue patch is much smaller as flooding had only just begun then.

A NASA image taken on July 2, 2020, showing the inundation of the country's northeastern part in navy blue. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

A third image shows the flooding on July 25 in natural colour.

A NASA image taken on July 25, 2020, showing the inundation of the country's northeastern part in natural colours. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

More than four million people have been affected and at least 100 had died in Bangladesh as of July 28.

Most of Bangladesh is low-lying and is drained by the Ganga (Padma), Brahmaputra (Jamuna) and Meghna rivers and their tributaries.

The country receives most of its rainfall during the summer — June to October.

Although the country is habituated to monsoonal flooding, the NASA report accompanying the images said the flooding this year could be the worst in a decade and the longest-lasting since 1988.

The Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre reported water levels along the Jamuna River were at or above “danger level” as of July 31, NASA said.

Almost a million homes were inundated and more than 1,500 square kilometres (600 square miles) of farmland were damaged across the country. Several areas are also isolated due flooded roads, it added.

The country has not been able to prepare well for the monsoon this year as much of the flood-prevention infrastructure like embankments and dykes destroyed in earlier monsoons has not recovered yet.

Bangladesh is also recovering from Cyclone Amphan, which hit in May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has also constrained response efforts.

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