Floods cripple Sylhet | The star of the day

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Around 13 lakh people affected in Sylhet town, 5 upazilas

A teenage girl with her family’s belongings waiting to take refuge in a safe place after floodwaters inundated their home. The picture was taken in Shalutikar Bazar area at Nandigaon Union of Gowainghat Upazila of Sylhet yesterday. Photo: Sheikh Nasir

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A teenage girl with her family’s belongings waiting to take refuge in a safe place after floodwaters inundated their home. The picture was taken in Shalutikar Bazar area at Nandigaon Union of Gowainghat Upazila of Sylhet yesterday. Photo: Sheikh Nasir

The flood situation in Sylhet deteriorated further yesterday as the Surma and Kushiyara rivers started flowing above the danger level.

Heavy torrential rains in the northeast region and in Meghalaya and Assam in India have paralyzed parts of the district since May 12, while Cyclone Storm Asani has worsened the situation.

Some 12 to 13 lakh people remained stranded in the area as all major rivers swelled and some rose above danger level over the past two days, authorities said.

The Surma River in the town of Sylhet started overflowing early yesterday and was flowing 29cm above the danger level in the morning.

According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC), the Surma was flowing 143cm above the danger level at Kanaighat Upazila Headquarters at 9am yesterday.

At the same time, the Kushiyara flowed 138 cm above the danger mark at Amolshid point in Zakiganj upazila and above 45 cm at Shewla point in Beanibazar upazila.

However, the water of the Sari-Gowain river has been reduced by 13cm and flows 5cm below the danger level at Sarighat point in Jaintiapur upazila.

In the city of Sylhet, the regions of Upasahar, Sobhanighat, Kalighat, Chaararpar, Sheikhghat, Taltala, Kalapara, Majumdarpara and Machimpur were submerged.

Hundreds of homes were flooded and the road network was nearly broken in areas.

Debjyoti Das from Sobhanighat area said they knew the Surma was swelling but had no idea their neighborhood would be submerged overnight.

“We are now moving to the upper floors, considering that the situation could deteriorate further,” he said.

According to Sylhet City Corporation (SCC), more than 1,000 people have taken refuge in 15 accommodation centers in the city.

CSC Chief Engineer Nur Azizur Rahman said, “We are facing critical waterlogging as rainwater could not reduce due to Surma overflow.”

“Now we are trying to provide food aid to people who have taken refuge in different accommodation centers,” he added.

Besides the city, large areas of the upazilas of Kanaighat, Zakiganj, Gowainghat, Jaintiapur and Companiganj remained submerged.

Meanwhile, a volunteer organization in Sylhet – Jaintia Kendriya Parishad – yesterday urged the Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet to declare Jaintiapur, Gowainghat, Companiganj and Kanaighat upazilas as “Distress Zone”.

Sylhet District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Shofique Uddin Ahmed, however, said the situation was not yet intense enough to be declared a “distress zone”.

“We estimate a total of 12 to 13 lakh people directly and indirectly affected by the floods. We have prepared 199 shelters and allocated 129 tons of rice and 1,000 bags of dry food to the victims,” ​​he said.

Meanwhile, the flooding situation has further worsened in Sadar, Tahirpur, Bishwambarpur, Chhatak and Doarabazar upazilas of Sunamganj.

In the district, the Surma was flowing 35cm above danger level at Sunamganj town point at 9:00 a.m. while the Jadukata was flowing 70cm below danger level at Shaktiarkhola point in Tahirpur upazila .

FFWC Executive Engineer Arifuzzaman Bhuyan said, “The situation will start to improve from tomorrow. [Tuesday].”

He further said that the flood waters would gradually diminish but the situation would deteriorate in the north as the Teesta and other rivers swell.

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