Bangladesh suffers worst floods in century

19 Jun 2022 08:36am
People prepare to get off a boat after being evacuated from a flooded area following heavy monsoon rainfall on the outskirts of Sylhet. AFP pic
People prepare to get off a boat after being evacuated from a flooded area following heavy monsoon rainfall on the outskirts of Sylhet. AFP pic

DHAKA - Almost half of Bangladesh remained in the grip of devastating floods on Saturday, as millions of people were marooned or left homeless in low-lying northeastern parts of the country.

Md Kamrul Hasan, secretary of Bangladesh's Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, told Xinhua Saturday that tens of thousands of policemen, Bangladesh Army soldiers and emergency service staff members have been deployed to assist search and rescue efforts.

"Bangladesh Army soldiers have already been deployed as floods devastated the northeastern districts of Sunamganj and Sylhet," he said.

Officials said thousands of homes in Sylhet and Sunamganj have been inundated and electricity has been cut.

The key Surma river running through Sylhet and Sunamganj districts burst its banks, flowing at a record rate of over 100 cubic metres a second on Saturday.

"The ongoing floods have been reported in 28 (out of 64) districts in Bangladesh since last week," Dalil Uddin, a spokesperson for the country's National Disaster Response Coordination Centre (NDRCC) under the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, told Xinhua.

Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, head of the state-run Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, said that many of Bangladesh’s major rivers have risen to dangerous levels.

He said the overall trend continues to indicate deterioration in the flooding situation in the coming days, particularly alarming for the areas around the Brahmaputra and Ganges basins in the country.
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Floods reportedly caused widespread damage to habitation, crops, roads and highways across vast swathes of the country.

TV reports showed wide areas of land are underwater in parts of Bangladesh, especially in the northeastern Sylhet region as major rivers have been overflowing since last week.

Officials said the onrush of water from hills across the Indian borders has virtually worsened the situation in the northeastern Sylhet region.

At least 4 million people are marooned and 300,000 are reportedly facing electricity outages in the districts of Sunamganj and Sylhet, Bangladesh national news agency BSS reported.Also, the monsoon rain on Saturday swept the capital Dhaka, forcing millions of city residents to stay indoors most of the day.

Due to incessant rainfall and flowing hill water, at least seven northern Bangladeshi districts have been inundated during the last two to three days.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman told journalists Saturday that both the government and private agencies of the country are working together in the Sylhet region which has been facing the worst floods in 122 years.

He said they had rushed teams from the army, navy, coast guard and disaster response forces to carry out rescue, distribute relief materials and supervise centres where the flood-affected families have taken shelter.

There is also the risk of mud and rock slides in the country as the flood waters run off.- Bernama