Maulana Amir Uddin Kashem, president of a local youth welfare organisation, stood at an embankment in Moulvibazar and stared at the flooded expanse before him. He, along with his family, had just spent their Eid here, under the open sky.
Amir looked defeated but also in awe of nature's force. “We never realised that floodwater could come at such speed. Our houses have gone under waist-deep water. We watched our valuables get washed away,” he said.
“We are at the mercy of God as no rescue and relief teams have reached our village.”
Amir's family is one among 40,500 who spent the Eid day on roadsides and the Monu and Dhalai embankments in Moulvibazar.
The happy occasion turned sour when the region began experiencing floods days before the biggest festival for Muslims.
Around two lakh families have been affected by flashfloods which hit the Sylhet region a week ago, according to the deputy commissioner's office.
Caught unawares by the sudden deluge, many others in the Moulvibazar remain stranded in their homes. Although the situation is now improving, the damage is laid bare.
Jakiganj, Kanaighat and Beanibazar upazilas are facing severe flooding, reports our district correspondent.
Iqbal Ahmed, upazila chairman of Jakiganj, said the upazila's situation was the worst as both the nearby Surma and Kushiyara rivers overflowed and triggered the flood.
Water entered the villages as the embankments of Surma and Kushiyara were fractured in at least 25 places, he said and demanded more aid.
In Lalmonirhat, danger signs were evident with the Teesta river flowing only five centimetres below its danger mark at Teesta Barrage point in the district's Hatibandha upazila yesterday, said the Executive Engineer of Water Development Board in Lalmonirhat Abullah Al-Mamun.
“If the rain and onrushing water from upstream continues, the Teesta river water would cross its danger level within the next 24-hour,” he said.
“At least 300 families in our char Gobordhan were marooned by the flashflood,” Abdul Hamid, a Union Parishad member of Mahishkhocha union at the district's Aditmari upzaila said.
According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of Water Development Board, the Surma river was 140 centimetres above the danger level at Amalshid point of Jakiganj upazila and 43 centimetres at Sylhet city point.
Kushiyara river was overflowing at 174 centimetres at Amalshid point of Jakiganj upazila, 106 centimetre at Sheola Point in Beanibazar upazila and 39 centimetres at Sherpur point of Osmaninagar upazila.
As per the FFWC's latest forecast, the existing flood situation in Sylhet district may remain steady until today.
Six people have been killed in the last three days' of flooding in the district's Kamalganj upazila. Two others are missing.
RELIEF EFFORTS UNDERWAY
Sylhet district administration has already started their relief and rehabilitation work at the upazilas.
Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya told reporters there was no shortage of relief and the distribution would continue until the flood ends. He made the comments after the special disaster management committee meeting at Moulvibazar Circuit House yesterday afternoon.
Officials at the relief and rehabilitation office in Sylhet said that more than 1.46 lakhs families in 38 unions of eight upazilas are affected by the flood, with many remaining out of the purview of the relief efforts.
“We have lost all hopes in this administration and are just waiting for the floodwater to recede. No government official has visited us to offer any assistance,” said Paulush Topno, a resident of Palkicherra tea garden.
Debojit Singha, additional deputy commissioner (general) of Sylhet, said that the situation was being monitored closely and more relief will be arranged for the affected people.
Meanwhile, 50 shelters have been opened in this flooded district with around 5, 390 people rescued and taken to the shelters.
ARMY JOINS RESCUE
The army joined efforts to rescue stranded locals in Kamalganj, Kulaura and Rajnagar, where the overflowing Monu River has left thousands of people stranded since Friday night.
Deputy Commissioner of Moulvibazar Tofael Islam said the army was working in five upazilas and were also working on the flood protection embankment of Monu River.
He said they had allocated 743 tonnes of rice for the flood-affected area and have already distributed Tk 950,000 as compensation among the victims.
The Monu River was however 68cm above the danger level at 11:25pm, showing a fall from the previous 145cm above the danger level recorded on Sunday evening near the town's Chadnighat, Water Development Board's Executive Engineer Ranendra Shankar Chakrabarty said.