Sylhet, Sunamganj: Troubles mount as more areas flooded
As the Surma and the Kushiyara keep rising, more and more areas of Sylhet and Sunamganj are going under water every day and large number of flood victims suffering from scarcity of food and drinking water.
Around 20 lakh people have been affected by the flash floods in the two districts. Thousands of them along with their cattle have taken refuge at 110 shelter centres in the last one week, said officials.
The Sylhet district administration has kept 231 more shelter centres ready. In Sunamganj, the number is 60.
At least four people died either from drowning in flood water or in landslides at hillocks in the last seven days. Besides, 96 people caught waterborne diseases during the same period, said sources at the Sylhet civil surgeon's office.
Police said three children were killed and eight other people injured by lightning strikes in Sundarpahari village of Sunamganj's Tahirpur upazila yesterday while they were harvesting peanut in a field submerged in flood water.
According to officials, all 13 upazilas of Sylhet and five out of 11 in Sunamganj have so far been hit by flash floods due to onrush of water from upstream and torrential rains. As many as 873 educational institutions have been shut in the two districts.
Road communications have collapsed in about one-third area of the Sylhet city. Road links between Sylhet city and Gowainghat upazila remain snapped for six days.
Road communications between Chhatak and Dowarabazar upazilas of Sunamganj were cut yesterday.
Around 1.5 lakh families in Sylhet and Sunamganj have been without power since Tuesday.
Nizam Uddin, a resident of Purba Jaflong area in Gowainghat upazila, said, "My house has collapsed and the Aush saplings have been damaged. I wonder how I will get back to normal life after the flooding is over."
Habiba Begum of Tukergaon village in Sylhet said, "We are facing an acute shortage of food and drinking water. As flood water entered our house, I took shelter at a nearby home with my three children. I don't know when I will be able to return to my home."
The overall flood situation worsened in Sylhet in 24 hours preceding 3:00pm yesterday.
According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, the Surma was flowing 47cm above the danger level at Sylhet city and 21cm above at Sunamganj town at 3:00pm yesterday, up by 5cm and 13cm respectively in 24 hours.
The Kushiyara was flowing 175cm above the danger level at Amolshid in Sylhet's Zakiganj upazila at 3:00pm yesterday and 57cm above at Sheola point in the district's Beanibazar upazila, up by 17cm at Amolshid 24 hours ago. The water level remained unchanged at Sheola in the same period.
However, the Surma was flowing 110cm above the danger level at Kanaighat of Sylhet at 3:00pm yesterday, down by 17cm 24 hours ago.
The flood forecasting centre yesterday forecasted that heavy rain may occur in the country's north-eastern region and India's Meghalaya and Assam in 24 hours till 3:00pm today. This may cause a further rise in the water levels of the two rivers.
Officials at the Sylhet civil surgeon's office said 140 medical teams were providing service to the flood victims.
Sylhet Civil Surgeon Dr SM Shahreer said, "Medical teams are carrying water refining tablets, medicine and other necessary medical equipment. We have asked for more supplies in case the flood situation worsens."
Meanwhile, Sylhet city Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury yesterday urged the city residents to help the flood victims and demanded the Surma be dredged without delay.
The mayor was briefing journalists after visiting some flood-hit areas in the city.
The district administrations have distributed rice, dry food and cash among the flood-affected people.