National Geographic : 1987 Jul
EIGHTY IMPORT, some 250,000 metric tons of river rock were trucked and barged from northern Bangladesh to this stoneless delta area. Relay teams unloaded the boulders (right)to fill gullies and hold down bottom-protecting mats (far right), here exposed at low tide on closure day. Working from assigned and flagged stockpiles, laborers swung 600,000 bags into the gaps, creating a bund, or em bankment, three meters wide on top and two meters high in a record seven hours. The tide rose against the impenetrable bund (right)as dusk fell on February 28. The closure was a success. Men along the embankment cov ered the seaward side with protective polypropylene fab ric. Curious villagers, fore ground, gathered to watch the final effort. The laborers wore their best clothes, treating this momen tous day as a festival. As each team finished, its members started celebrating, garlanding and lifting their jubilant fore man (above). During the following week dump trucks and earthmovers added clay to raise the height above the next spring tide.