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Hailstorms hammer Sylhet, Sunamganj

■ Electricity supply disruption in Sunamganj

■ Several people injured in the city

Heavy hailstorms late on Sunday in Sylhet and Sunamganj towards the end of the Bangla month Chaitra have raised fears of significant damage to Boro and other crops.

After Taraweeh prayers, at around 10:15pm, a storm passed through Sylhet city and other areas in the division, followed by a hailstorm. This caused inconvenience to people on the streets, pedestrians, and those out for Eid shopping.

The hailstones were so heavy that they damaged the glass of cars, CNG-run autorickshaws, and other vehicles, as well as kutcha and semi-pucca houses, injuring several people.

Many on social media commented that they had never seen such a hailstorm in Sylhet before. Many uploaded pictures of damaged cars, while some reported damage to their houses’ tin roofs and windows due to the hailstorm.

However, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department’s weather bulletin had not provided any information about the extensive hailstorm in Sylhet in its 72-hour forecast.

There is also a fear of loss of life in Sunamganj, where at least five people were reported injured due to the storm. Electricity supply in the entirety of Sunamganj was halted until 1am on Monday.

A school teacher trapped in the storm in Sylhet’s Ambarkhana area, Nazim Uddin, said the size of the hailstones was something they had seen in their childhood. He expressed concern about the potential for significant damage to agricultural crops due to the size of the hailstones.

Ripon, a resident of Tukerbazar, said: “Although there have been hailstorms before, the size of the hailstones this time was unprecedented, causing damage to many houses.”

News from Sunamganj reports that kutcha and semi-pucca houses were damaged in the storm. Farmers expressed concern that early varieties of paddy in the haors may be damaged due to the hailstorm.

Sunamganj Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Rashed Iqbal Chowdhury said: “A severe storm hit around 10:15pm, accompanied by lightning and hailstones. So far, there has been no news of major damage. However, the storm has caused damage to trees, electric poles, and some kutcha and semi-pucca houses.”

Syeda Farhana Ima, a female entrepreneur from Sunamganj, said: “The storm caused trees to fall on various roads in the city. A tree fell on a moving autorickshaw in Kalibari, injuring the driver and three women.”

Yakub Shahriar, a Pagla Bazar High School teacher in Shantiganj upazila, said: “The storm damaged several tin-shed shops in Pagla Bazar. Fallen trees on the road caused disruptions to vehicular movement. In Iqbal Nagar of Sunamganj town, the Sylhet-Sunamganj road was blocked due to fallen trees. About half an hour later, at around 11:15pm, rain and thunderstorms started again.

In Shantiganj upazila, at least 20 kutcha and semi-pucca houses in multiple villages, including Pagla, Kandigaon, Asampur, and Bagherkona, were devastated by the storm. The most damage was reported in Pagla Bazar, where the storm demolished roadside temporary shops.

Yakub Shahriar, a resident of Pagla Kandigaon village, said: “Pagla residents have never seen such a storm before. Many business establishments were crushed. Many houses in the area were significantly damaged.”

In the city’s Kalibari area, a tree fell on a moving CNG auto-rickshaw, injuring the driver and five others. The injured were identified as residents of Vaishbhair village in Lakshanshree Union of Sunamganj Sadar Upazila.

Due to multiple trees falling on the Sylhet-Sunamganj road in the Hasan Torna area, transportation on both sides was halted, creating severe traffic congestion. The road became passable again after about an hour thanks to the efforts of the fire service rescue team.

Dr Nirupon Roy Chowdhury, a medical officer at Sunamganj Sadar Hospital, reported that five patients were admitted to the hospital due to injuries from the storm. One young man named Saddam was in critical condition and was referred to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College and Hospital. Another young man named Royal was admitted to the hospital. The rest were given primary treatment.

Bimol Chandra Shome, deputy director of Sunamganj Agricultural Extension Department, said: “There was moderate hailstorm along with the storm. It might cause some damage to the early varieties of paddy in the haors. We have sent news everywhere.”

However, he mentioned that there would not be significant damage to haor crops now.