Heavy rain and onrush of water from the hills have badly damaged the roads in four upazilas of Sylhet and five upazilas of Moulvibazar, disrupting communication in the division and causing immense sufferings to the people of at least 50 unions.
According to officials of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and Roads and Highways Department (RHD), around 320 km of roads in the two districts have been destroyed by flood during the last week.
"I could not cook food for my family for the last five days as my house was flooded by the water that entered through the collapsed embankment,” said Mina Begum, 45, of Nomoja village under Kulaura upazila of Moulvibazar.
Kulaura Upazila Parishad Chairman Kamrul Islam said potholes a few feet deep have developed in some places and many earthen roads have collapsed.
Burhan Uddin of Adampur village in Kamalganj upazila of Moulvibazar said the bricks and the earth on the roads have been washed away by floodwater.
Moulvibazar Water Development Board (WDB) Executive Engineer Ronendro Shankar Chakrabarty said they have informed the higher authorities about the matter, and sought emergency allocation of funds for repairing the embankments.
Moulvibazar RHD Executive Engineer Mintu Ranjan Debnath said some roads are now under water, while around 10 km have been washed away totally.
Moulvibazar LGED Executive Engineer Kamrul Islam said around 300 km of roads are still submerged by water, adding that the loss could be around Tk 60 crore.
Moulvibazar Deputy Commissioner (DC) Tofael Islam said around 2,50,430 people in 32 unions of Rajnagar, Moulvibazar Sadar, Kulaura, Kamalganj and Sreemangal upazilas have been badly affected.
Immediate help, including food support from the government, is needed to mitigate the sufferings of the affected people, said James Ferguson, chairman of ward No two of Lakkhiprasad Union Parishad under Kanaighat upazila of Sylhet.
"The roads will be repaired after the water recedes. Around 7 km of roads have been washed away,” said Sylhet RHD Executive Engineer Utpal Samanta.
Fresh threat is looming over flash flood-affected district of Moulvibazar with the surging Kushiyara river gradually weakening the embankment.
Cracks have developed along the embankment in Sadar's Holdikul area. If the dam collapses, floodwater might inundate parts of Sylhet and worsen the flood situation in Moulvibazar town and adjacent areas.
DC Tofael said the flood situation improved in the past two days, but damage to the Kushiyara embankment is a concern.
The Kushiyara was surging 26 cm above the danger level at Sherpur point in the town at around 2:00pm yesterday, said WDB Executive Engineer Ronendro Shankar Chakraborty.
“Due to heavy rainfall coupled with onrush of hilly water, the soil under the embankment is eroding, causing the rifts to appear on the embankment,” he said.
WDB, Bangladesh Army and locals are working to repair the rifts on the embankment with timber and sand-filled sacks.
Locals blame the indifference and negligence of WDB officials for the damage to the embankment.
Tofael said the Manu, Khowai and Dhalai rivers started receding around 24 hours ago.