The civil society organisations (CSOs) and NGOs have called for ensuring transparency and accountability in the delivery of humanitarian assistance for Sylhet flood survivors. They also demanded the transfer of operational leadership to local NGOs, adding that the role of the UN agencies and INGOs will have to be limited to monitoring and technical assistance. The CSO leaders were speaking at an online press conference Saturday organised by the Sylhet chapter of the Bangladesh NGO-CSO Coordination Process (BDCSO Process). Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director at COAST Foundation, said there should be a transparent and competitive policy for the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) fund disbursement. "This time the size of the fund is $5 million as announced by the UN emergency relief coordinator." "The fund should not only be earmarked for the UN agencies, Red Cross and large national NGOs. There is little disclosure of the INGO funding although the UN already raised $2.5 million," he added. Rezaul said: "There should be a policy for building sustainable and accountable local civil society in Sylhet. Funds should be disbursed through open, competitive and transparent practices." Nayeem Gowhar Warha, secretary of the Disaster Forum, urged the government to depute a senior official as a relief commissioner in Sylhet and Sunamganj for relief coordination. Read: BDCSO Process to hold virtual annual conference from Oct 6-8 AKM Jashim Uddin, director of the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB), said given the Grand Bargain commitment, the UN and INGOs should consider allocating at least 25 percent of the funds for the local NGOs. Tofazzel Hossain, chairman of BDCSO process in Sylhet, Babul Akhter, coordinator of ADAB Sylhet, Badrul Islam, executive director of Jaintia Shinnomul Songstha (JASHIS), Badrul Akter, secretary of ADAB in Sylhet, Sazzadur Rahman, executive director of Poddha Sylhet, and Jobair Hossain, executive director of Shatadol Sylhet, also spoke.
The government has allocated assistance to repair or rebuild just 6,000 houses damaged in the recent floods in Sylhet, even though more than 40,000 houses were damaged. According to the government's own figures, 40,091 houses were damaged in Sylhet district. In reality, the number of damaged houses is believed to be even higher. That means only 15 percent of damaged house owners received the grant. According to the district administration, a total of 4,84,383 families were affected by the flood in Sylhet. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has allocated Tk 5 crore for the construction of damaged houses. And of that allocation, Tk 10,000 each has been distributed to 5,000 affected house owners. Besides, the government has allocated more than Tk 60 lakh and 2000 bundles of Corrugated iron sheets that were distributed among a further 1,000 affected house owners. Meanwhile, Dilu Miah, a resident of Shimultala Guchhgram of Companiganj Upazila, said he cannot repair the house like other victims in this area as he didn’t receive any government grants. Read: Almost 3,500 families marooned in Satkhira Sylhet Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Mojibur Rahman said all the affected houses listed by the government will get financial assistance. The Finance Ministry's Social Development Foundation (SDF) is allocating Tk 6 crore for the construction of houses in Kanaighat and Goainghat upazilas of the district soon, he said. “In phases, the affected house owners will get the assistance to reconstruct the houses.” Sylhet was hit by the first round of floods last May. After that, the flood hit this region again on June 15. The flood situation remains unchanged in at least 30 percent of the district.
The flood situation in Sylhet district improved slightly on Tuesday morning, with most of the rivers except the Kushiyara showing a receding trend. However, flood survivors across the northeastern district continue to suffer from the deluge. While many have taken refuge in makeshift shelters, others are staying in tents on the highway and roads. The Surma river was receding very slowly. As on Monday 6pm, the river was flowing 34 cm above the danger level after its water level dropped 8 cm in 24 hours, according to the district Water Development Board (WDB). Also read: Flood in Bangladesh: Death toll stands at 107 However, the Kushiyara river was still flowing 84 cm above the danger mark at Amalshid point after rising 18 cm in 24 hours. At Sheola point, the river was flowing 20 cm above the danger level at 3pm Monday after rising 12 cm in 24 hours.
BNP senior leader Gayeshwar Chandra Roy on Saturday emphasized on taking effective steps including the construction of sustainable dams as a permanent solution to recurring floods in the country’s Sylhet region. “Effective initiatives need to be taken to find a permanent solution so that the people of this (Sylhet) region do not face such catastrophic floods in the future,” he said. The BNP leader said dredging rivers and digging canals are necessary to keep the normal flow of water from the mouths of different rivers to the downstream areas. “Besides, sustainable dams must be built at some points so that a vast area in downstream is not submerged during the rainy season.” Also read: BNP blames govt for fresh spike in Covid cases He hoped that BNP, if it returns to power, will take effective initiatives to end the problem of repeated flood in the region. Gayeshwar, a BNP standing committee member, said these while talking to reporters after distributing relief materials among the flood victims at Lalpur Bazar in the Sadar Upazila arranged by Bangladesh Nari O Shishu Odhikar Forum. He said BNP leaders and activists have been distributing relief materials as per the directives of their acting chairman Tarique Rahman from the beginning of the flood. “Around 40 percent people of the country still remain marooned, but the ruling Awami League is not standing by them. In fact, it’s not the government of the people. This is a government for money launderers and women traffickers. So, BNP is now there beside the flood victims as a party of people,” the BNP leader said. Also read: AL won’t be allowed to retain power by’rigging’ votes again: Mintoo Slamming the government for what he said indulging in repressive acts, Gayeshwar said, BNP leaders and activists have become helpless as they have long been subjected to killings, enforced disappearances, attacks and ‘false’ cases. He called upon people from all walks of life to get united and wage a strong movement to get rid of ‘misrule’ of the current regime and establish a pro-people government through a credible election under a non-party administration.
A total of 140 medical teams are providing medical treatment to flood-hit people in Sylhet district, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday. The health department, he said, is ready to provide medical assistance to the flood victims as the water has started receding, he told in a meeting with the health officials at the conference room of Sylhet Osmani Medical College and Hospital. He also claimed that no death has been reported due to lack of medical treatment or for shortage of food in the district. This has been a great achievement, he noted. Also read: Receding flood waters reveal disastrous damage in Sylhet The government has taken steps to solve the problems faced by the community clinics, health centres and hospitals in the flood-hit areas, he said. Flood water entered the ground floor of Osmani Medical College and Hospital on June 18. Medical activity of the hospital has been hampered badly due to the flood, said the minister. The radiotherapy, CT scan and MRI machines went out of order forcing the authorities concerned to suspend the operation. The power supply also remained suspended for sometimes at the hospital as the flood water also entered into the generator room. But the authorities concerned restored the power supply instantly in an alternative way, said Maleque. He assured of taking necessary steps to prevent waterlogging. Also read: Flood situation worsens in parts of Sylhet The minister also visited the flood-hit areas in Sunamganj by a helicopter. He distributed relief materials among 7,000 people in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts.
As the waters started receding following Sylhet division's worst flood in living memory, the disastrous damage it inflicted also became evident, along with the challenge any recovery effort will face in the days ahead. The death toll from the third flash flood of the year in Sylhet reached 52 till Sunday morning (from May 17), according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), but this is almost certainly an underestimate, with local sources claiming the toll to be much higher. Many areas haven't even been accessed, where the authorities have no idea of casualties. According to Sylhet District administration, around 22 lakh people from four lakh families are bearing the brunt of this terrible disaster while 80 percent of the area still remains under water as of Sunday. “Part of Sylhet City Corporation, all the 13 upazilas and five municipalities and 94 unions were affected in the district. The exact number of people facing the damages will be 21,87,232 (21 lakh 87 thousand 232)of 4,16,819 families (4 lakh 16 thousand 819),” said Ahsanul Alam, Assistant Commissioner of District Administration. He said 22,450 houses and 28,945 hectares of cropland have been damaged according to official estimation so far. However, locals are claiming the damage is vaster and the recovery will be long. Also read: Flood situation worsens in parts of Sylhet Bearing the brunt Tara Mia, 70, from Janigaon village, has not seen such a terrible flood in his entire life. “On June 16, when all of a sudden water started entering my house I took shelter near a high area beside Sylhet-Sunamganj highway and remained there since. None cares about us though, people come and speed away with their vehicles as we sit helplessly beside the road,” he said. Khushbu Begum, 60, from the same village said, ”Don’t know how we will get back to our homes after flood water lowers as it is filled with soil now.” Husnahar Banu, 35, who took shelter in a ramshackle cottage beside the highway with her six children, said,”We took refuge here 14 days ago and are not sure how many days we will need to spend on the roads. There is still water inside the home that we left.” Fifty-five-year-old Kahar Mia was more worried about his cattle as some of them had already washed away. “We can survive by eating flattened or parched rice but the helpless animals might die without their food,” he said. Akkas Ali, from Jaikar Kandi village in Kandigaon union, returned home from the shelter center on Saturday evening and broke down in tears as nothing but the foundation remained. “The floodwater took away everything but the clothes on our bodies. We are eating the relief provided by people. How will we build everything back now?” he wondered aloud as he was unsure how to bring back his family from the shelter as there is no home. Tahera Begum from Moiar Char village said,”For five days I took shelter in Badaghat High School and as I returned home found the toilet was broken and everything in the house was damaged. Repairing everything is the biggest challenge for everyone as the flood has snatched our income sources too."
The flood situation in six upazilas of Sylhet worsened Wednesday as incessant rainfall and an onrush of water from upstream kept pounding the region for the last few days, leaving its major rivers in spate. More than 1 lakh people of Zakiganj, Fenchuganj, Beani Bazar, Osmaninagar, Balaganj, and Gopalganj were left stranded due to flooding. However, the water levels remained unchanged in the rivers Surma, Dholai, Piyain, and Luva and the flood situation on their banks improved slightly. Meanwhile, Bangladesh army, navy, coast guard, police, and Border Guard Bangladesh are working round the clock to rescue the flood-hit people. According to the Bangladesh Water Development Board, flood water entered 40 points of Zakiganj upazila till Wednesday evening. Also Read: Flood death toll climbs to 42: DGHS Around 60 per cent of Fenchuganj and Balaganj went under water. Road communication on Balaganj-Khichripur and Fenchuganj-Balaganj route remained suspended. The flood situation in Beani Bazar, Osmaninagar, Balaganj, and Gopalganj also worsened as new areas of the upazilas went under water as the water level in the River Kushiara kept rising. SM Shahidul Islam, chief engineer of the Bangladesh Water Development Board in Sylhet, said water in the River Surma was flowing at 13.75 centimetres above the danger mark at Kanaighat point Wednesday evening.
The flood situation in the country continued to worsen Sunday as the water started flowing downstream to the central regions from the north-east districts with risk of landslides in hilly areas. While Sylhet, Sunamganj districts remained worst-hit in flooding from heavy rainfall and onrush of upstream waters, disrupted lives of millions in Moulvibazar, Netrakona, Sherpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Kishoreganj districts. Water level in different upazilas and Sylhet city area started receding on Sunday. “We could not count the rainfall from 6 am to 4 pm on Sunday as it was too little to be counted. From Monday the sky will become less cloudy, decreasing the rainfall. It will also improve the flood situation,” said Sayeed Chowdhury, senior metrologist from Sylhet Met office. Meanwhile rail communication with Sylhet was restored after 24 hours on Sunday at 12:55 pm after the train started operating on Dhaka-Sylhet route, said Nurul Islam, Sylhet Railway Station Manager. Power supply to Sylhet was disrupted on Saturday after flood water entered the Kumargaon grid power substation and the authorities were forced to shut it down, suspending power supply to the two districts. Later in the afternoon, the electricity supply was restored partially in some parts of Sylhet city, which falls within the district Power supply was restored in several areas of the city including Zindabazar, Chauhatta, Amberkhana, Bandarbazar, Nayasarak, Nayor Pool, Shahi Eidgah, Tilagarh, Baluchar and Mirer Maidan from Saturday 8 pm . Up to one lakh people have so far been evacuated from the flood-hit Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman said on Sunday. Nearly 40 lakh people have been marooned in the two districts in one of the worst floods in the region in memory. The rain-fed deluge inundated 60 percent areas in Sylhet district and 90 percent areas in Sunamganj district, the state minister told reporters at the Secretariat. Already 75,000 people have taken shelter in different centers in Sunamganj and 30,000 people in Sylhet did the same. The flood situation slightly improved in Sylhet while it remained static in Sunamganj district. Besides, the flood situation worsened in Habiganj and Moulvibazar districts. The flood situation in north-eastern areas may improve but it will turn worse in the adjacent northern parts of the country due to rise in water levels of Brahmaputra and Teesta, he said. The electricity supply to Sunamganj district and its adjacent areas had to be disconnected to avoid accidents as Chhatak and Sunamganj grid substations went under flood water. Meanwhile, more than one lakh people of Chhatak upazila remained under flood waters till Saturday afternoon. People of the upazila have not received any kind of assistance including relief from the administration
As the worst floods in two decades hit northeastern Bangladesh, Bangladeshi-origin British MP Rushanara Ali has said it is vital to raise much-needed funds to support those most affected and who need assistance. "Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. Heavy monsoon downpours mean hundreds of thousands stranded. Sylhet, where I and many of my constituents have family, has been hit extremely hard. My thoughts are with all those affected," Rushanara said, sharing UK-based Charity organisation Penny Appeal's request for donation. Penny Appeal launched the appeal to help people hit hard by floods, as thousands face shortages of food and essentials. The organisation is working with partners on the ground to provide life-saving support to those whose lives have been torn apart this monsoon season. Read: Flood situation turns grim: Power supply to Sylhet, Sunamganj suspended To help flood-hit people it has requested people to donate £50 for a monsoon food pack (which could provide a family with food for a month), £300 for monsoon shelter (which could provide emergency shelter for a family), £500 for 10 food packs (which could provide 10 families with food for a month), and £3,000 for 10 emergency shelters (which could provide emergency shelter for 10 families). Each year, heavy monsoon rains threaten millions of lives across South Asia. This year's monsoon season is getting worse, causing widespread damage across Bangladesh. Hundreds have already lost their homes, livelihoods and lack access to essential food, water, and even basic medical assistance. Moreover, the strong winds and heavy rains put lives and property at risk. Entire livelihoods, cattle and farmland are destroyed, leaving people with nothing and no form of income.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has emphasised working with India and developing a better system for water management and regulations to avoid flood damages. "We have to work together; we have 54 rivers that come from India to Bangladesh. And right now when I am talking, I have a devastating flood in my own constituency in Sylhet. It came from Assam and Meghalaya," he told WION in an interview in New Delhi Saturday. Momen said they would like to share their expertise and data so that they have an early warning about this sort of disaster. "Before Pakistan was created, we used to have floods, but not as devastating as we have now," he said. The foreign minister is now in Delhi to co-chair the seventh meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) with his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar Sunday. Read: Sylhet: A city tries to cope with its worst flood in living memory During his conversation with WION, Momen said he would discuss the Rohingya issue with Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar. "If Bangladesh, India and Myanmar work together, we can resolve it. We can have a sustainable solution to it." Sunday's JCC meeting will be the first such physical meeting of the mechanism since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the previous edition taking place virtually in 2020. Momen said they have been supportive of Sri Lanka during the financial difficulty. "We provided funding of around $250 million, food, a gift of 25,000 tons of potato, and a few thousand tons of medicines. And we are ready to help them as much as we can."