The cities of Sylhet and Sunamganj were flooded at the beginning of the monsoon. About five lakh people in five upazilas including Sylhet city have been inundated due to rains and continuous hill slopes. Teaching has been stopped in more than two and a half hundred educational institutions. The power supply is off. Sylhet City Corporation has opened 31 shelters in Sylhet city as the flood waters continue to rise. According to the Sylhet Water Development Board, at 9 am on Friday, the water level at Kanaighat point of Surma River was 1.8 cm above sea level and 25 cm at Sylhet point. The water level of Sari River is 23 cm above the danger level.
The water level of Kushiyara and Lova rivers has also increased. There is no water left in any one-storey house in Sunamganj town. Electricity has been cut off. Several upazilas including Sunamganj Sadar, Chhatak, Doara and Shantiganj are now floating in the water. The traffic of the whole country is closed with Sunamganj. The mobile network is not working either. The floods destroyed 650 hectares of aus paddy and 120 hectares of vegetables in Sunamganj. The previous floods also destroyed aus paddy, nuts and vegetables.
Meanwhile, eight unions of three upazilas have been submerged in Teesta water in Rangpur. More than two thousand families in about 15 villages of Dimla upazila of Nilphamari have been flooded due to rising water in Teesta. Roads of 18 villages along the Dudhkumar River in Bhurungamari upazila of Kurigram have been submerged. In Sirajganj, the surrounding chars and low-lying areas are being flooded due to rising water in the Jamuna.
SSC and equivalent examinations have been postponed across the country due to floods in several areas including Sylhet and Sunamganj. Authorities have announced that classes and examinations at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Sylhet will be closed till June 25. The Sylhet region has witnessed the third floor of the current season due to the water coming down from the upper reaches. Earlier, in April, untimely floods occurred in the lower part of Sylhet. Then in mid-May, Sylhet experienced the worst floods in 17 years. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Center fears that the flood situation could worsen in Sunamganj and Sylhet as well as Netrokona districts.
Floods come naturally every year. But in the current condition of the rivers of the country, the excess water is not able to flow into the sea. Most of the rivers are full. Many rivers have lost their ability to hold water due to reduced depth. That is why the stability and severity of the floods are increasing day by day. Permanent measures must be taken now to control the floods. But for now, we have to stand by the flood-hit people. Adequate relief needs to be provided. Medical team with necessary medicines should be sent to prevent the spread of water borne diseases in the flood affected areas.
Abul Bashar Meraz
Writer is a Journalist and Columnist