50,000 Sylhet homes without power as floodwaters submerge power substations

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Torrential rains and an onrush from the upstream have worsened flooding in parts of Sylhet, leaving around 50,000 homes without power since Tuesday as floodwaters submerged power substations and electric meters at homes across the city.

Abdul Qadir, chief engineer of the Power Development Board in Sylhet, said power substations in several areas, including South Surma and Upasahar, were submerged, reports bdnews24.com.

"As a result, power supply to these areas has been cut off since Tuesday. The situation is not likely to return to normal any time soon due to prolonged waterlogging,” he said.

The authorities opened 200 shelters across the northeastern district.

The district administration said it allotted 100 tonnes of rice and 3,000 packets of dry food to flood-affected people. Around 129 tonnes of rice and 1,000 packets of dry food were distributed to them previously, it added.

According to the report released by the Bangladesh Water Development Board in the afternoon, the water level at the Kanaighat point of the Surma River decreased by 16 cm, but is still flowing 127 cm above the danger level.

The water level rose by 13 cm at Surma's Sylhet point and the river has swelled 42 cm above the danger level. The level decreased by 17 cm at the Sunamganj point but the river is running 18 cm above the danger level.

The Kushiyara River's water level has risen by 20 cm at the Amalsid (Sylhet) point and is flowing 158 cm above the danger level. The river is flowing 53 cm above the danger level at Sheola point.

The flood situation in Sylhet and Sunamganj could worsen further in the next 24 hours, the BWDB's Flood Forecast and Warning Centre said.

Residents of South Surma are the worst affected. Power supply has been cut off in almost all areas located on the south bank of the Surma river.

Shyamal Chandra Sarkar, an executive engineer of Sylhet Power Development Board, said residents of Shahjalal Upasahar and its adjoining areas under Sales and Distribution Division-2 were the worst affected after South Surma.

Ashraf Ahmed, a resident of Shahjalal Upasahar, said, “There’s been no electricity since Tuesday evening. We’re facing a drinking water crisis. No one has been able to say when power will be back.”

Shams-e-Arefin, another executive engineer of the Power Development Board, said almost all of the houses in Upasahar have electricity meters located on the ground floor or underground. The meters are all currently submerged. In this situation, it will not be possible to provide electricity in any way.

Besides, power supply to most parts of Kanaighat, Zakiganj, Companiganj, Jaintiapur, Sadar and Fenchuganj Upazilas has been cut off due to flooding in the houses, he said.

Power outages in addition to waterlogging have exacerbated the plight of people.

 “I’m stuck in my home due to flooding and there is no power. I can't even charge my mobile phone. So, it hasn’t been possible to contact anyone during emergencies,” said Alam Ahmed, a resident of South Surma.