Bangladesh: Massive floods maroon more than 1 million people in Sylhet
By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA): Bangladesh’s northeastern border district of Sylhet has been inundated by massive floods in less than one month, marooning more than 1 million people and causing property damage, according to officials.
All 13 sub-districts of the tourist-hub region, famous for tea gardening, have been flooded from days-long heavy rains and an onrush from the upstream neighboring state of India.
“The whole region, including the surrounding areas, has been affected by the flood. And even except a very few parts, the whole Sylhet City Corporation have been swamped,” Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet, Md. Mojibur Rahman, told Anadolu Agency.
But he said there have been no casualties to date and authorities have taken necessary support to relieve residents.
“We have already allocated 400 metric tons of rice and 1.7 million (Bangladeshi) taka ($19,000) as hand cash to distribute among the affected people,” said Rahman.
The local administrative head also warned that it might take seven to eight days to discharge the water after the rain and upstream onrush stop, meaning that millions in the region have to endure more suffering for weeks to come.
While residents are still fighting to recover from losses experienced last month in the worst floods in 18 years, the new disaster leaves them in serious plights.
Tens of thousands have left their homes and taken shelter at government-run shelters and other concrete structures amid an acute crisis of food, drinking water and sanitation.
Cattle and domestic animals have been kept on the highways with a high risk of being washed away.
Agriculture, communication, fisheries and other economic activities in the region have been seriously affected.
Meanwhile, members of the army, Naval Force and Coast Guard have been deployed to assist the local administration.
The Secondary School Certificate and equivalent examinations scheduled to begin Sunday have been indefinitely postponed as hundreds of educational institutions have been inundated.
Flight operations, including take-offs and landings, have been suspended at the region’s international airport as the flood water has entered the runway.
Sylhet Osmani International Airport Manager, Hafiz Ahmed, told the media that all flights have been suspended until midnight June 20.
Residents demanded a proper dredging of the main two rivers so that the onrush upstream and rainwater can be absorbed.
“There are frequent reports in the media about the necessity of deep dredging in the Surma and Kushiyara rivers. But we don’t see much action and even there are reports of irregularities in the limited steps of dredging,” Mohammad Jahidur Rahman, a university student and resident of Sylhet City Corporation told Anadolu Agency.
[Photo: Devastating flood has inundated all 13 sub-districts of the northeastern border district of Sylhet, marooning over 1 million people and causing huge damages to houses, academic institutes, and properties. Photojournalist : art. Kamruzzaman/AA]
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