Floods wreak havoc on Sylhet power supply, airport

Some 300,000 people of five upazilas of Sylhet have been marooned

Rising floodwaters brought more suffering for Sylhet residents on Friday as the power supply to the region was disrupted with several power stations going under the water.

The government deployed the army to help with the rescue efforts.

Travel to and from Sylhet also became more difficult after flight operations at Osmani International Airport were suspended due to flood water approaching the runway.

The electricity supply to Sunamganj district and its adjacent area was also disconnected to avoid accidents as Chhatak and Sunamganj grid substations went under flood water, State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid announced through a post on his verified Facebook page on Friday.

Regretting the inconvenience to the people due to the natural disaster, he said the electricity supply would be restored as soon as the flood situation improved.

The junior minister also hinted about possible further power disconnections in the Sylhet region since the switchyard of the Kumargaon grid substation has also been flooded.

Meanwhile, Osmani International Airport Manager Hafiz Ahmed said floodwater was moving closer to the runway with time.

Five flights were operated at the airport from morning till noon, he added.

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Rescue operations

Around 300,000 people of five upazilas of Sylhet district have been marooned due to the onrush of water due to heavy showers upstream. 

In one incident, 21 students of Dhaka University (DU) were trapped by the flood water at a restaurant while they were visiting Tanguar Haor in Sunamganj. They were later rescued by Sylhet Sadar Deputy Commissioner Jahangir Hossain at the request of the DU administration.

One of the students, Shoaib Ahmed, from the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, told Bangla Tribune that they had been moved to Sylhet District Police Lines. 

“We have been moved from the Pansi restaurant, but the situation here is also not good. The police line too is under knee-deep water,” he said.

Shoaib added that the students had contacted the Bangladesh Army and a speedboat was being sent for them. They had become trapped three days ago.

“We will head towards Sylhet first and then go to Dhaka. The university's vice chancellor, proctor and chairman of our department are keeping in touch with us at all times,” he added.

While they were trapped, Shoaib had sent an SOS saying: "We are in dire need of food and drinking water and there is no toilet facility here. Here, most of our phones are out of battery and not working properly due to poor network.”

Another student of the group, Usama Rafid, in a post on his Facebook timeline 16 hours ago said: "We all have some stories to tell. From a random tour to a survival thriller."

Floods likely to worsen

The flood situation in Sylhet, Sunamganj and Netrokona may further deteriorate in the next 24 hours, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said Friday.

Water levels at 13 points of the country’s rivers were flowing above the danger level.

The flood situation may also further worsen in the low-lying areas of Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rangpur and Kurigram districts, it added.

According to weather forecasts by meteorological agencies, there is a chance of medium to heavy rainfall at some places in the northern and north-eastern regions of the country, along with adjoining states of Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal of India in the next 72 hours.

As a result, the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, the Ganges-Padma, the Surma, the Kushiyara, the Teesta, the Dharla, the Dudkumar and all other major rivers may continue swelling in the next 48 hours, said the forecast.