As the sun came out Saturday in Sylhet after four more days of heavy rain, the water level in all rivers and flood-hit areas started receding but that hardly eased the non-stop struggle life has been for its residents, many of them in areas cut off by waterlogging, since mid-June with food and fresh water crises still persisting.

Until Friday morning total fatalities from the devastating flood rose to 95 with three more deaths from drowning and lightning strikes in the country, said the Directorate General of Health Services DGHS).

According to the Water Development Board (WDB) in Sylhet, from Friday 6 am to Saturday 9 am water level decreased 11 cm at Sylhet point and 10 cm at Kanaighat point of the Surma river. Meanwhile the Kushiara river's water level lowered 16 cm at Amalsid point, 5 cm at Sheola point, and 2 cm at Fenchuganj point. Lobha, Sari, and Dhalai rivers were also showing a receding trend.

Asif Ahmed, executive engineer of Sylhet WDB, said, "The water is receding slowly but the flood situation is not expected to deteriorate in the next few days."

Due to heavy rains from June 15, and upstream water running down from India, Sylhet and other north-eastern districts of the country faced the most devastating flood in living memory. For almost 17 days 80 per cent of the district remained under water and normal life there came to a complete standstill.

As tube wells of the flood-hit region also submerged, an extreme crisis of drinkable water and food became imminent in Sylhet.

"Total 99 unions of 13 upazilas in the district were flooded. Of the 35,000 government tube wells in the district 27,000 were submerged along with 2,000 more private ones," told Alamgir Hossain, executive engineer of district Department of Public Health Engineering.

He said, "Eight mobile water treatment plants with capacity to supply 5,000 liters of water each have been received from the government. Of them six has been distributed to flood hit Sylhet city, COmpaniganj, Gowainghat, Kanaighat, Bishwanath, Fenchuganj and another two have been kept in reserve".

"We are campaigning to teach the steps to purify tube well water after flood water recedes," he added.

Ismail Ali, from Tererton area in the city said, "For eight days my house was under water and we just started cleaning the house today."

He mentioned another problem that came up with receding water - an all-encompassing, unbearable stench from rotten wastes.

Nur Azizur Rahman, chief engineer of Sylhet City Corporation said "The city corporation is conducting a cleaning drive of the garbage from the canal and other water bodies. The whole city will be cleaned with bleaching powder."

Meanwhile, Mukul Ahmed, a trader from Bangabir road said, "Though water went down from my shop the roads remained submerged for the 17 th day. My business has completely gone down and I don't know how many days the situation will remain like this."

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