Flash floods, rain in Sylhet: Strong preparation needed to tackle situation

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Hundreds of thousand people have been left waterlogged with vast regions of Sylhet and Sunamganj being submerged in water due to flash floods and heavy rain. A lot of people in both districts have been forced to leave their homes and take refuge in shelter centres because of this sudden flood.

According to Prothom Alo reports, water has breached all the 12 upazilas of Sylhet from the nonstop rain that continued for several days at a stretch. Meanwhile the water level is rising in some places and flooding quite a few areas anew.

The number of flood-affected population in the district is nearly 675,000 (6.75 lakh). Since there is a forecast for heavy rainfall in the next two days, there’s a risk of the flood situation worsening even further.

According to data provided from Sylhet administration, as many as 21 out of 42 wards in Sylhet city have been inundated. To deal with the situation, 80 shelter centres have been opened in Sylhet city with 547 others across the district. A total of 17,285 people have taken shelter in these centres.

Apart from that, road communication has been severed in a number places for the rural roads being submerged. Earlier, there was a sudden flood in Sylhet on 29 May from all the heavy rain and flash flood.

Meanwhile, most of the streets in Sunamganj city are inundated with flood water. The water has breached people’s homes, government and non-government institutions, business institutes as well as educational institutions.

Many houses, government and non-government institutions, business institutes and educational institutes in the city have sunken under water. All the government and private schools are being opened for people to take refuge.

Vehicular movement is completely suspended on Chhatak-Sylhet, Sunamganj-Tahirpur, Sunamganj-Dowarabazar and Sunamganj-Bishwambarpur roads. Because of the flood, the district administration has decided to shut all the tourist spots in Sylhet region.

A lot of people go to visit the hills in Sylhet, the haors in Sunamganj and the tea estates in Sreemangal during Eid vacation every year. The number of tourist was already low this time because of the rainfall.

The Sylhet region gets flooded every year due to flash flood and heavy rainfall. We have no control over flash flood. But, if the navigability of our rivers can be increased that water can be cleared out quickly. People’s hassles can be reduced in that case.

But what’s unfortunate is that like other regions of the country, the rivers in greater Sylhet are also severely affected by pollution and occupation. The canals had been filled up way earlier. And so even slight rain causes water logging and the public life becomes tumultuous.

Food has to be arranged for the people who have taken refuge in the shelter centres due to flood condition until they return home. Then, necessary aid has to be provided to everyone assessing the amount of damage incurred by them. Especially, to those whose houses or agriculture and fish farms have been affected.

Whoever needs seeds have to be given seeds and whoever needs their houses repaired should be given financial assistance. There is no scope for nepotism and partisan bias. Hopefully, the local administration and public representatives will coordinate in this task.

A long term and sustainable scheme should be taken to protect Surma and Kushiara river from occupation and pollution. Though allocation is given for river dredging every other year the work is never done. The money allocated for water gets washed up in water only. The sham of river dredging must be stopped if the people living in greater Sylhet are to be saved from flood.

The flood season has just begun. We believe the propensity of floods might increase even further in the coming days and it is important for the government to have advanced and strong preparations for that as well.

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