2.5m people stranded in Sylhet, 55,000 rush to flood shelters

2.5m people stranded in Sylhet, 55,000 rush to flood shelters

More than 25 lakh people in Sylhet division remained marooned still on Thursday as the flood situation worsened inundating new areas in four districts of the division with an unabated onrush of water from upstream Meghalaya and Assam states of India.

The division, however, saw less rainfall on Thursday compared with the past three days.

Three children among six people died in flood related incidents on Wednesday and Thursday in Sylhet and Rangpur divisions.

Meanwhile in Rangpur division, water levels in the trans-boundary rivers Teesta, Dudhkukar and Dharla were rising fast caused by heavy rainfall upstream in India, leading to floods in some areas of the division.

Four people, including a minor boy and a woman, were killed in separate flood related incidents in Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts, while in Kurigram under Rangpur division, the body of a child was recovered on Thursday and seven others remained missing after a boat capsized on Wednesday.

The Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations in Sylhet division were postponed till July 8 as the flood situation deteriorated. The exams were scheduled to begin from June 30.

Professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar, the head of the inter-education board coordination committee and also the chairman of the Dhaka education board, disclosed the informed to the mass media, adding that the decision was taken on Thursday afternoon.

He, however, mentioned that the exams that were scheduled to be held from July 9 would take place as usual.

Two children and one youth died in Moulvibazar on Thursday.

A schoolgirl drowned in floodwater at Bhagadahar village under Borolekha upazila of the district on Thursday afternoon.

Borolekha police inspector (investigation) Farid Uddin told New Age that Ayesha Begum, 12, a Class VI student of Gollasangan High School and daughter of Shams Uddin of Bhagadahar village, went out to see the floodwater near their house.

‘At one point, she drowned in the water,’ the police officer said.

Akhter Uddin, chairman of Chadnighat union parishad at sadar upazila in Moulvibazar, told New Age that Sadi Miah, 8, of  Shyamarkona village at the union, and his neighbour Hriday Miah, 17, died after drowning in the stagnant floodwater at a place near their home on Thursday afternoon.

‘None of the two victims knew swimming,’ the UP chairman said. 

The dead body of Sadat Hossain, a youth of Fatehpur village at Goainghat upazila in Sylhet, who was washed away in the strong floodwater current was recovered early Thursday.

Sadat was crossing the river near his village in a small boat on Wednesday evening when the boat capsized and the strong current washed him away, Goainghat upazila nirbahi officer Md Tawhidul Islam told New Age.

A woman, Minati Rani, 40, also died of electrocution at about 8:00pm on Wednesday when she was switching on a water pumping motor at a temple at Jhalopara of Kadamtoli in Sylhet city.

Dakshin Surma police station’s outpost in-charge Debangshu Pal told New Age that Minati sustained an electric shock after she came in touch of a live wire that was submerged in water. 

The flash flood forced hundreds of residents particularly of Sylhet and Sunamganj districts to rush to safety and to flood shelters as their houses went under water on Monday early morning, merely hours before Eid-ul-Azha. 

According to the administration officials of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj districts, 21,31,964 people (2.12 million) of 427 unions and municipalities, including 30 Wards of Sylhet City Corporation, were affected so far in the floods since almost of the major rivers in the regions were flowing above the danger marks still on Thursday afternoon.

The local government representatives and local people, however, claimed that the actual number of the flood hit people would be higher than the estimation by the government officials.

Among the flood-stricken people, 9,57,448 were in Sylhet, 8,42,596 were in Sunamganj, 2,81,920 were in Moulvibazar and 50,000 in Habiganj, the officials at the administration said.

Md Borkot Ullah, assistant commissioner of Sylhet divisional office, told New Age on Thursday afternoon that total 55,137 flood-stricken people took shelters at around 1,606 flood shelters across the division.

District administration officials concerned told New Age that most people whose houses went under water took shelter at the residences situated in higher grounds belonging to their relatives and neighbours.

One after another bout of flood in Sylhet district in particular that first hit on May 28 sending over 10 lakh people, including 30 wards out of 42 in the divisional city, under water brought no respite for the residents to return to normalcy.

According to Water Development Board almost all the major rivers flowing through the Sylhet division, including Surma, Kushiyara, Khowai, Dhalai and Manu, were flowing above the danger marks on Thursday afternoon.  

The Surma was flowing 80 centimetres and 25cm above the danger marks at Kanaighat and Sylhet city point respectively at noon. The Kushiyara was flowing 102cm, 85cm and 36cm above the danger marks at Fenchuganj, Amalshid and Sherpur respectively, according to the WDB.

In Rangpur division, on Thursday afternoon, the Teesta was flowing below 8cm at the barrage point, but at the Teesta railway bridge point it was flowing 25cm above the danger level, said Mohammad Ullah, deputy commissioner of Lalmonirhat.

Ahsan Habib, supervising engineer of WDB Rangpur region, said that the water levels of Teesta, Dharla, Dudhkumar, Brahmaputra and Jamuna rivers in Rangpur region increased.

He said that at least 30,000 families in Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Kurigram and Gaibandha districts became marooned due to the rising water.

Besides, river erosion started at 18 points. He also said that the WDB was at work to protect the riverbanks from erosion.

Rangpur divisional commissioner Zakir Hossain said upazila nirbahi officers were instructed to prepare a list of families marooned in the floodwater. 

Meanwhile on Wednesday night, a boat carrying wedding guests capsized in Teesta in Sadua Damarhat area of Ulipur upazila in Kurigram following which the body of a child was recovered, while seven people remained missing.

Ulipur police officer-in-charge Golam Mortuza said that the boat had 26 passengers on board 18 of which were rescued. On receiving information, fire service units rushed to the spot and recovered a child’s body.-New Age