Bhola Island (also called Dakhin Shahbazpur) is the largest island of Bangladesh with an area of 1441 km². It is most of the land area of Bhola District in Barisal Division.
In August 2015, the island was given the nickname Queen Island of Bangladesh as an effort from the government of Bangladesh for the promotion and marketing of tourism industry
About Bhola Island
Bhola is a very poor island in the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh with major environmental, social and health problems. The name Bhola means “forgotten place”.
Because of the rising sea and land erosion the shape and size of Bhola is in constant flux, so the following figures are very approximate.
The island is around 95 kms long by an average of 35 kms wide, some 3,400 km2 in total (about the size of Wiltshire).
According to the last census in 2001, the population of Bhola then was around 1.7 million. This was made up of 329,000 households in 461 villages and 5 main towns – 486 people per km2 (four times the density of Wiltshire).
Since 2001 the population has grown and the land shrunk, and in the rainy season much of the land is under water. So, the population density today on the habitable land is at least ten times that of Wiltshire.
Where is it?
In Bangladesh two of the mightiest rivers in the world – the Ganges (2,500 km) and the Brahmaputra (2,900 km) – merge and divide forming the Ganges Delta. Both rivers change their names several times over their courses. From where the main streams of both rivers merge the combined river is called the Padma. Then when it is joined by the Meghna (the second stream of the Brahmaputra) it acquires that name as it flows past the island of Bhola and empties into the Bay of Bengal.
Access to Bhola is by launch (for passengers) or ferry (for vehicles) or by the one and only seaplane run by Mission Aviation Fellowship (www.mafbangladesh.org). The crossing from the city of Barisal, west of Bhola, is relatively short but Barisal is the wrong side of the Ganges/Padma for travel to or from the capital Dhaka to the north or the second city Chittagong in the east. With the river channels constantly shifting the only bridge over the Ganges in Bangladesh is in the northwest, so launches are the most direct means of getting to most places. Two launches run every night between Bhola and Dhaka , taking between 8 and 12 hours depending on tides, flood and fog.
Launch journeys in Bangladesh can be perilous. Overcrowding, poor maintenance and disregard of safety standards add to the risks of river waters which are particularly dangerous when swollen by the annual monsoon.
In 2002 the MV Nasruddin sank near Chandpur north of Bhola killing some 450 followed by the MV Nasrin in 2003 with the loss of 400 lives.
It is situated at the mouth of the Meghna River. There are ferry and launch services from Dhaka and Barisal.Surges always reshape low-lying Bhola island. The Island is 130 kilometres (81 miles) long. It has a population of 1.7 million. A 1776 guide demonstrated that it was oval yet it is currently more elongated because of disintegration by the Meghna River. Bhola a low lying range which is only 6 feet above ocean level at the most elevated point. Environmental change will affect it and its populace, bringing about expanded disintegration