Assam flood situation deteriorates drastically, toll 11

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HT Bureau

Guwahati, Aug 12: The third wave of flood took a grim turn in Assam on Friday with death of five persons while affecting nearly 11 lakh people across 19 districts. Two persons died in Dhemaji and one each in Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar and Morigaon districts, according to a report of Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). With these, the total number of persons who were killed in flood-related incidents across the state rose to 89, including eight in Guwahati.

As the situation turned to worse, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited two flood relief camps situated at Dhelakhat at Tinsukia and Dinjoy Hazarimal HS School at Dibrugarh district and enquired about the arrangements for the inmates of the camps.

The Brahmaputra is now flowing above the danger mark at Nimatighat in Jorhat, Dibrugarh town, Tezpur in Sonitpur and Dhubri town. Other rivers like Burhidehing at Khowang in Dibrugarh,  Subansiri at Badatighat in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali at NT Road Crossing in Sonitpur, Puthimari at NH Road Crossing in Kamrup, Beki at Road Bridge in Barpeta, Gaurang at Kokrajhar town and Sankosh at Golokganj in Dhubri are also flowing above danger marks, the ASDMA report said.

A least 11 lakh people are affected in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Baksa, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Morigaon, Golaghat, Jorhat, Majuli, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, the report said.

Six deaths, including a couple have been reported from Kokrajhar. The reports said a couple was found dead in a pond in Gossaingaon on Saturday. They are identified as Juel Hembrom and his wife Kuma Baskey. The others are: Suranjan Datta (Fakiragram), Pranjit Roy o(Bhumki), Dwithun Brahma (Bagribari) and Frajen Wary (Diabari Andhujhar). One went missing in flood in Gossaigaon. He was identified as Deepak Narza.

With 1.92 lakh people affected, Dhubri is the worst hit district, followed by Dhemaji where 1.51 lakh people have been affected by the calamity, the report said. Currently 1,752 villages are under water and over one lakh hectares of crop area has been damaged, it said.

The flood has damaged embankments, roads, bridges and other infrastructures in Dhemaji, Darrang, Chirang, Kokrajhar,  Bongaigaon, Charaideo, Dhubri, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Majuli,  Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Barpeta, Baksa, Dima Hasao, Golaghat and Morigaon districts.

The authorities have opened 268 relief camps and distribution centres in 14 districts, where 63,797 people are taking shelter at present. At least 2,600 people have been evacuated to safer places by SDRF and NDRF personnel in many districts. The ASDMA said massive erosion has been witnessed at various places in Biswanath.

The situation turned to worse in Kokrajhar as water released from Bhutan submerged many places in the district. Nearly 30 relief camps have been set up.

With continuous rain in West Karbi Anglong, the water level of Karbi Langpi hydro-electric project dam has increased considerably. The excess water released from the dam on Friday resulted in submerging the lower embankments of the river. Villages like Tharve Abi, Borbil etc. under Baithalangso police station are submerged and roads went under water. Till filling of the report no property damage has been reported.

Meanwhile, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited two flood relief camps situated at Dhelakhat at Tinsukia and Dinjoy Hazarimal HS School at Dibrugarh district and enquired about the arrangements for the inmates of the camps. He also interacted with the inmates who expressed their satisfaction over the arrangements and took stock of their problems while also enquiring about the quality of relief materials provided to them.

Later, Sonowal told reporters that the government’s first priority is to provide relief materials to all the flood affected people at this hour and all DCs have been instructed to ensure adequate flood relief to the affected people. Proper rehabilitation measures have been taken for the affected people and no stone would be left unturned in helping the distraught people at this hour, he added.

Stating that flood is not only Assam’s problem as it also causes havoc in neighbouring coutries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh etc, Sonowal said that a multi state and multi nation approach for finding permanent solution to the problem of flood would be adopted by the government so that recurring damages and devastations can be avoided in future.

Saying that embankments are the major safeguards against floods, Sonowal stated that due to lack of proper strengthening of these embankments during last 70 years most of these became vulnerable and prone to breach in few areas. The present government therefore worked vigorously to repair and strengthen the embankments before the onset of monsoon and completed the works of 88 numbers of embankments in the state.

Reiterating that relief and rehabilitation works are the topmost priority of the government at this hour to mitigate the damages and hardships of the people on an urgent basis, Chief minister Sonowal stated that central government has taken the flood situation of the state very seriously and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself reviewed the relief and rehabilitation measures carried out so far in the state on August 1 at Guwahati and announced a package for immediate relief and rehabilitation for the flood hit people of Assam and other North Eastern states.

Sonowal also said that indicating the sincerity of the central government in solving the perennial problem of flood in the state, a seven member Inter Ministerial Central team visited Assam on 25th July as per directions of the Prime Minister within a week’s time to assess the damage due to the recent wave of flood in the state and the first time visit of such a high level team augurs well for the state.

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