The flood has stranded over 200,000 people in Moulvibazar and shut down 175 schools in Sylhet (An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the flood as a flash flood)
As monsoon rains once again cause rivers in the north-east parts of Bangladesh to swell, floods have struck again.
Vast tracts of Moulvibazar and Sylhet have become inundated for the third time this year due to the floods and the following onrush from the hills.
200,000 people stranded in Moulvibazar
The flood has submerged some 29 unions of the Moulvibazar’s Kulaura, Juri and Borolekha upazilas.
Most of the houses, schools and roads are now underwater, stranding 200,000 people.
The recent flood has taken a heavy toll on the farmers and fishermen of the surrounding areas as they had no necessary precautions for such an untimely disaster.
In March, the rivers Sonai, Kontinala, Juri and Kushiara became overflown and caused a flash flood which submerged vast swathes of land in Sunamganj and Moulvibazar.
The series of frequent natural calamities have pushed the dwellers of these areas into a serious crisis.
Local farmers have incurred a huge due to the damage of the Boro crop caused by the March flood. And the recent flood has put another nail in the coffin of their fortune inundating the seedbeds of Aush and Aman crops.
Many of the government offices that were supposed to resume on Sunday after Eid vacation are also submerged. Officials were seen using boats to go to their offices.
The government has been disbursing relief materials to the affected people through various disaster management programmes such as Gratuitous Relief (GR), Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) and Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF), yet the allocation is very scarce compare to the demand.
Kulaura Upazila Parishad Chairman AFM Kamrul Islam has urged the government to announce this region as a crisis-stricken area and take immediate steps to resolve the crisis.
Moulvibazar Water Development Board’s Executive Engineer Bijay Indra Sarker told the Dhaka Tribune that the rainwater flowed down to the rivers Sonai, Kontinala and Juri through hundreds of hilly channels.
“The water of the Hakaluki haor passes through the Kushiara River. But the water level in the river is flowing 29cm above the danger limit causing the excess water to overflow the banks of the river,” he added.
Flood shuts down 175 schools in Sylhet
The flood in Sylhet has forced 175 educational institutes to shut down. Among them, 162 are primary schools and the other 13 secondary schools.
Sylhet Primary Education Officer Nurul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that three schools each in Fenchuganj and Beanibazar have been turned into shelters for the time being. He said the schools have been instructed to resume classes as soon as the floodwater recedes.
Secondary Education Officer Gulzar Ahmed Khan added that 25 secondary schools are also waterlogged, in addition to the 13 schools already flooded.
Flooding in six upazilas commenced on Friday. The Relief and Rehabilitation Office has allocated 127 tonnes of rice and Tk2.77lakh in cash for aid.
The Water Development Board said that as of 3pm Sunday, the major rivers in Sylhet had surpassed the danger level. Surma is flowing 54cm above the danger level in Kanaighat, Kushiara is flowing 74cm, 88cm and 23cm above the danger levels in Sheola, Amalsid and Sherpur respectively.
Md Sirajul Islam, executive engineer at the Water Development Board, said the weather forecasts predict rain, which may aggravate the conditions.
Sylhet Deputy Commissioner Rahat Anowar called for several emergency meetings on Sunday. He said the Surma and Kushiara rivers have flooded Zakiganj, Beanibazar, Golapganj, Osmaninagar and Balaganj.
The DC said the administration is working to set up flood shelters and provide relief to the affected.
Minister Nahid visits
On Sunday afternoon, Minister of Education Nurul Islam Nahid flew to Sylhet and visited his electorate in Golapganj. The minister is scheduled to continue his visit through Monday.
Awami League to distribute relief on Monday
A five-member delegation led by Organising Secretary Md Misbah Uddin Siraj will visit the inundated areas in Sylhet on Monday.
Siraj will be accompanied by Central Working Committee Badaruddin Ahmed Kamran, Sylhet Awami League President Advocate Lutfar Rahman, General Secretary Shafiqur Rahman Chowdhury and AL MP Mahmud-us-Samad Chowdhury.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader urged all Awami League leaders and workers in Sylhet to do everything in their power to assist the relief distribution programme.