Flash floods stalk Sunamganj farmers

After the first flash flood hit on March 30, about 7,083 hectares of paddy went under water in the region, causing a loss of around Tk 125 crore (US$14 million).


Flood water flowing over an embankment and entering Gurmar Haor in Tahirpur upazila of Sunamganj yesterday. Due to heavy rains upstream, waters from swollen rivers in the Sylhet region have been causing floods. Photo: collected

April 18, 2022

DHAKA – Weeks after the first blow of early flash flood, another flood started inundating crops in a haor in Sunamganj yesterday.

This flood is triggered by torrential rains in the country’s north-eastern districts and in India’s Meghalaya. All rivers and canals in the haor area are flowing close to the danger level.

The Gurmar Haor in Tahirpur upazila is being inundated. Water is flowing over some old levees there, posing risks to Boro paddy on around 2,000 hectares, said farmers.

If water from this haor goes into Tanguar Haor, breaching the levees between the two waterbodies, paddy in Tanguar Haor will also be damaged, they added.

Karuna Sindhu Chowdhury, Tahirpur upazila chairman, said, “Since the first blow, we have been struggling to protect all dykes and save our crops. Water entered flowing over an old dyke, which does not normally happen.”

“We, all concerned, are now struggling to protect the dykes.”

Mujibur Rahman, a farmer of Joypur village, said, “Along with the officials, we farmers are passing nights on the levees so that we can stop them from breaching.”

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension in Sunamganj, over 30,000 hectares of Boro paddy have been harvested till Saturday. Around 2.22 lakh hectares have come under Boro cultivation this year, it said.

On March 30 night, this year’s first flash flood hit the haor areas of Sunamganj, Sylhet, Netrakona and Kishoreganj.

About 7,083 hectares of paddy have gone under water in the region, causing a loss of around Tk 125 crore.

The Boro harvest is going on in full swing at the upper parts of the haors since April 14. It would take another few weeks for the paddy to ripen enough in many low-lying haor areas.

In the last week, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) issued a flash-flood alert between April 14 and yesterday.

According to the BWDB, water level of Jadukata rose 71cm, Surma 40cm and Patlai 43cm in 24 hours till yesterday morning.

This year, the government constructed 520km of levees in Sunamganj spending Tk 120 crore.

Three levees broke in the first round of flash floods and resulted in the inundation of 4,900 hectares in the district.

Md Jahurul Islam, executive engineer of the BWDB in Sunamganj and member secretary of the district committee for constructing crop protection dykes, said, “The water level in the rivers keeps rising and we are at risk of losing crops as water may enter haors breaching the earthen dykes.”

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