Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Flash flood in Khagrachari

Khagrachari is a small town in the district of the same name. Nestled in a valley ringed ‎with blue, magnificent hills, it is a jewel in the crown of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of ‎Bangladesh. ‎

Next to the town runs the rivulet known as the Chengi, which pours its meagre stream ‎into the artificial lake of Kaptai. ‎

Meagre stream? Most of the time: meagre, but lovely, especially when its meanders are ‎viewed from the hills. ‎

However, on the night of the 16th of October, 2007, the Chengi changed beyond ‎recognition. It had rained all night, and by dawn, the river was a surge of rapid waters ‎carrying flotsam from the hills. It was a magnificent sight!‎

A brief trip into the city, and the devastation wrought by the usually docile Chengi was ‎heartbreaking. People had woken up with their houses flooded, their crops destroyed, ‎their belongings ruined….‎

And what was worse was that this was the second flash flood in a month. But the ‎previous overflow of the monsoon had been mild. The city people recalled that the last ‎time such a terrible flood had occurred was in 1984. They are a hardy lot, and every year ‎during monsoon – which lasts from June/July to September/October – they are visited by ‎at least one such calamity. ‎

The Chengi reminded me of that famous line uttered by Mrs. Moore in E. M. Forster's "A ‎Passage to India": "What a terrible river…what a beautiful river!" ‎

The story of the flash flood is told in pictures below (copy and paste in browser to view). ‎

1 comment:

Tanmoy said...