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A city underwater: Sylhet submerged for third time this year

Photo: The Osmani Medical College Hospital has its services hampered as ground level flooding persists even after the rains ended.

That’s the lesson Sylhet city is re-learning for the third time this year as it is under the onslaught of heavy rains and the flooding that accompanies it.

Ward-6 Councilor of Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) Farhad Chowdhury Shamim is at a loss for what has just transpired.

“We faced waterlogging again even though the city corporation cleared all the drains and canals on time. It is not possible to get rid of this suffering without excavating the Surma river,” he said.

In a Facebook live video, the councillor stood united with the rest of the city showing that the water had also entered the ground floor of his house.

His furniture remained half-submerged.

The urgency of the situation was felt more deeply at Sylhet’s Osmani Medical College Hospital, where a flooded ground floor had disrupted healthcare services.

Arup Raut, a doctor, had just arrived in the hospital in the morning after wading through knee-deep water.

Patients were also seen trying to find some semblance of dry ground, even if on an elevated stretcher, or the staircase.

Back in the city, residents had grown weary of trying to fight off the water.

It was a battle lost.

Rajib Russell, a resident of Shahi Eidgah, said water started entering his house on Friday night, and it was still rising.

“Water entered the house three times this year,” he added, the fatigue etched across his face.

For some, it was time to leave. There was little to salvage.

“The water is still rising. If the water rises further, I will need to abandon the house. This is the situation of almost every family in our area,” said Abdur Rahman, a resident of the Pirojpur area of South Surma.

With no telling when the rains would halt, there was also a growing sense of anger.

MJH Jamil, a resident of Shahjalal upazila of the city, who lives on the fourth floor of his apartment building, said water began entering the ground floor of the building overnight.

He expressed anger that the relevant authorities were not taking the initiative to permanently prevent the waterlogging in the city.

“As a result, the people of the city have to face such a situation again and again,” he said.

Nur Azizur Rahman, chief engineer of Sylhet City Corporation, said the waterlogging situation was caused due to heavy rain and that it will recede once the rain subsides.

He also said the residents living in the city also need to remain alert and ensure that drains in their area are kept free of obstructions..

“It is also important to excavate the Surma river,” he added.

Shah Md Sajib Hossain, a meteorologist at Sylhet Met Office, said 357.8 mm of rainfall was recorded in the 24 hours from 6am on Friday to 6am on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Abdul Qadir Tapadar, a local journalist, reported that the water level had risen up to waist height on the Sylhet-Sunamganj road in Pathantula.

Traffic movement on the road has been halted until the water level lowers.

With roads in low-lying areas already flooded with waist-deep water, residents of Sylhet’s more elevated areas, including Shahi Eidgah, Tilagarh and Majortila, have reported water entering homes by Friday night.

Sources placed across the city said water entered most shops and houses in the following areas of Sylhet: Osmani Medical College Hospital, Osmani International Airport, Kajal Shah, Shahjalal upazila, Dargah Mohalla, Kalighat, Bagbari, Kanisail, Lamapara, Lala Dighirpar, Mashudighirpar, Badambagisa, Shahparan, Kuarpar upazila, Sobhanighat, Jattarpur, Shibganj, Machhimpur, Kamalgarh.

In addition most of the roads of Sylhet city, including Pirojpur of South Surma and Sylhet Railway Station, have been submerged.