Sunamganj has been without electricity for four days. Cell phone network is also quite poor. There is scarcity of food and drinkable water. There is a shortage of candles. The shops and markets are closed, so the people have no way of purchasing their necessities. People who live on the ground level have no way to cook food, as their stoves are also submerged in the water.

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This correspondent lives in the Mohammadpur area of the city. In spite of it being a highland area, there was three feet of water logged in this correspondent’s residence, like every other home in the locality.

It rained incessantly for the last three days. People were drinking the rain water to survive. But on Sunday, it didn’t rain so many people lost their last source of clean water.

At noon, an announcement was made from the local mosque. Water was dredged from the mosque’s water tank using a generator. People were asked to come to the mosque and collect water. Some people walked through chest-high water to the mosque to collect some water.

For nearly three days, Sunamganj district has been disconnected from the rest of the country. As there is no electricity and the network connection is very poor, people are struggling to connect with their relatives and family members.

On Sunday, the water level came down a bit. In the rooftops of some households, people are getting network and internet connection. Almost three days later, this correspondent managed to send this report and some pictures via internet on the roof of a three-storied building.

The elders of the city say, this is the worst flood in Sunamganj in memory. Sunamganj Sadar, Chhatak, Dowarabazar, Tahirpur and Bishwambarpur upazilas, which are situated at the edge of the Indian border, are the worst affected by the flood.

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Freedom fighter and a resident of Mohammadpur, Joynal Abedin (72), said, “I’ve never seen such a devastating flood in Sunamganj in my lifetime. Seeing how people are giving refuge to others during this calamity has brought tears to my eyes. Some people are giving their three-storied, four-storied buildings for others to stay. Some are feeding people. Some are rescuing trapped people. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if everyone hadn’t come out to help each other. But I’m worried about the humanitarian crisis that will follow after the flood.”

Askir Ali, a resident of the same area, has taken refuge in an under-construction building. 34 working class families are also living there. The owner of the building Salahuddin Mahbub is providing two meals per day for them. Mahbub said, “Not just this house, people have taken shelter in every home of this locality. Everyone is trying to help. Nobody thought disaster will strike like this. Nobody could guess that such a grave calamity will be upon us in a matter of hours.”

Ishtiaq Ahmed, a businessman from the city’s Banani Para, said, he couldn’t remove the goods from his shop before the water seeped through. He has suffered losses of around Tk 1.5-2 million. Ishtiaq further said that there is no businessman in the area who hasn’t suffered losses. It will be difficult to overcome this loss.

Sunamganj was first flooded on 13 May. Before people could recover from that flood, it again started raining heavily from 10 June. At the same time, heavy downstream started entering Sunamganj from India’s Meghalaya and Chherapunji.

The upazilas on the border area once again got flooded on 13 June. On 15 June, Chhatak and Dowarabazar got completely flooded. On 16 June, waterlogging began in the city. It started raining heavily at noon and kept raining non-stop. By night, the entire city was flooded. People were out on the streets at night, in search of shelter. Before the night ended, the city was under 5-6 feet of water.

*This report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy.

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