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Flood situation improves slightly in Sylhet, unchanged in Sunamganj

Published : 21 May 2022 10:01 PM | Updated : 22 May 2022 02:08 PM

Although the water level in the Surma and Kushiyara rivers and some other rivers flowing over Sylhet are still above the danger level, the water level is now dropping gradually.

However, the flood situation is unchanged in Sunamganj district as the water level was rising a little in the district. Md Arifuzzaman, an official of Water Development Board (WDB), said that the flooding may worsen in the low-lying areas of Sunamganj in the next few days.

On the other hand, Asif Ahmed, an executive engineer of WDB, on Saturday said that the water level in the rivers of Sylhet has started to fall due to low rainfall in Cherrapunji and Assam of India.

AKM Niloy Pasha, a sub-divisional engineer of WDB, said that the water level of Surma and Kushiyara rivers dropped by an average of 13cm on Saturday (May 21) and it would continue to drop if the weather remains favourable.

However, the people of Sylhet will be stranded in floodwater for more five days as the flood situation is improving slightly. “Currently, the floodwater is receding. As a result, the flood situation is not likely to increase in Sylhet. It will take more five days to improve the flood situation,” said SM Shahidul Islam, additional chief engineer of the North East Division of WDB.

Sylhet region is experiencing the worst flooding in a decade and a half following heavy rains and the onrush of hilly water from the upstream. At least 20 lakh people in Sylhet region have been directly and indirectly affected by the flood situation since May 12. 

The flash hit 13 upazilas in Sylhet district, including the Sylhet city. The upazilas include Kanaighat, Jointiapur, Gowainghat, Companiganj, Zakiganj, Sylhet Sadar, Dakshin Surma and Fenchuganj. Floodwaters submerged most parts of the upazilas. Many areas in Sylhet city went into under floodwater. 

The flash flood damaged homes in several parts of district and intensified food and drinking water crises. According to the district administration, 85 unions in 13 upazilas of Sylhet have been flooded and 326 shelter centres have been opened.

The flood has also damaged the transport system in many areas of the Sylhet, forcing the authorities concerned to close the educational institutions.

Road communications of Sylhet city with some upazilas have been snapped due to the flood. 

Bangladesh faces frequent flood due to the overflowing river bodies. The flash flood hit the Sylhet region and it deteriorated sharply due to overflow of rivers in the region. 

Water experts and WDB officials said that navigability has decreased in the rivers Surma and Kushiyara and other rivers that flow over Sylhet. A lack of regular dredging efforts has contributed significantly to the flooding in Sylhet region this time. 

It is reported that many river islands appear during dry season in almost all rivers in Sylhet, including the main river of Sylhet- Surma. It is done due to decrease of the navigability in the rivers. A water expert said that the navigability of rivers in Sylhet decreases by half a metre every year due to the inflow of silt from India.

Abdul Karim Kim, general secretary of Sylhet unit of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), said that Sylhet is experiencing such a severe flood due to decrease of navigability of the Surma and Kushiyara rivers. He has demanded dredging of the rivers on an emergency basis. 

According to information of the Sylhet divisional commissioner’s office, there are 36 rivers in Sylhet division. The rivers include Surma, Kushiyara, Piyain, Saree, Kalni, Dhamalia, Monu, Dholai, Khowai and Sutang. 

SM Shahidul Islam of WBD said that steps are being taken to prevent the people of Sylhet from becoming victims of such flood that takes place this time. The flood in Sylhet region will decrease after the dredging of rivers, particularly the Surma, is done. 

The WBD official said, “The rivers and canals in Sylhet are being dredged. We are studying the rivers here for dredging. Even if the course of the river Surma in Sylhet is right, it will have to be dredged. A new project is being undertaken for this purpose. The DPP of the project has not been prepared yet, but the feasibility study is underway.” 

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Disaster Management Dr Enamur Rahman have recently visited flood-hit Sylhet city with promises of dredging the Surma and Kushiyara rivers before next year.

Dr AK Abdul Momen said that the Surma and Kushiyara rivers would be dredged to restore their navigability and prevent floods in this region. “The bed of the two main rivers of Sylhet has been filled. We have plans to dredge the river before the next monsoon,” he said.

Enamur Rahman have said that a meeting on Delta Plan is scheduled for Sunday (May 22), where the issue of river dredging in Sylhet will be discussed. If the Delta Plan is implemented by 2031, the country will reach a flood-tolerant level,” he added.

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