Flood waters maroon 29 districts in Assam, death toll rises to 27

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NDRF personnel rescue a person from a flood affected area, in Morigaon district, Assam. Photo/PTI.

The flood situation in Assam remained grim on Wednesday (July 17) with 29 districts marooned by the deluge, which has so far claimed 27 lives and affected 57 lakh people, officials said.

According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) bulletin, the Brahmaputra and its tributaries are flowing above the danger mark in various places in the state, including in Guwahati. It said that the flood waters have receded from Hailakandi district but still 57.51 lakh people remain affected.

Four deaths were reported from Morigaon, two each from Sonitpur and Udalguri districts, while one each from Kamrup (Metro) and Nagaon districts, mounting the toll to 27, the ASDMA said. A rhino died in the Kaziranga National Park, it said.

Over 1.50 lakh people have been displaced from their homes and taken shelter in 427 relief camps and 392 relief distribution centres set up by various district administrations, the ASDMA bulletin said. All 409 inmates of Dhubri district jail were shifted to the Dhubri Girls College as flood waters inundated the prison.

The college was converted into a temporary jail upon the orders of the district Deputy Commissioner Ananta Lal Gyani, Assistant Jailor CK Haloi said. Most parts of Dhubri town were under waist-deep water with boats being the only mode of transport, officials said.

Assam Chief Minister Sonowal Wednesday took stock of the flood situation in Barak valley of the state and assured of his governments support for the relief, rescue, and reconstruction works in the affected areas. He visited flood affected Karimganj and directed the district administration to prepare a detailed project report for geo-bag protection of the bank of river Longai, which is creating havoc in the district.

Also read: 90% of Kaziranga National Park submerged; anti-poaching camps affected

Sonowal asked the officials associated with rescue and relief works to submit a detailed report highlighting the extent of damage caused by the flood for the government to take up
reconstruction work at the earliest. He also emphasised on scientific study of the course of Longai, Kushiyara, Shingla, and Barak so that the damage perpetrated by the rivers could be minimised, a government release said.

The chief minister also visited Malini Beel Relief Camp at Silchar in neighbouring Cachar district and took stock of the facilities being provided to the inmates there. Vast areas of Kaziranga and Manas National parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary were submerged under flood waters, forcing the wild animals, including deer and buffaloes, to move towards the highlands in Karbi Anglong Hills.

The Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger level in Jorhat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara, and Dhubri along with rivers Burhidehing at Khowang in Dibrugarh district, Subansiri river at Badatighat in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri river at Numaligarh in Golaghat district, Jia Bharali river at Sonitpur, Kopili river at Kampur, and Dharamtul in Nagaon district.

Erosion, breaching of embankments, damage to roads, bridges, culverts, and other infrastructure were reported from many places in the state, the bulletin said. In Guwahati, the Kamrup (Metro) district administration has shut down the parks in the riverfront of the Brahmaputra along M G Road to visitors in view of the rising water level of the river.

The NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and the SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) are working round the clock in the flood affected areas and have evacuated 14,580 people, pressing 427 boats into service. Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway has slowed down speed of trains in Abhayapuri-Jogighopa section for safety as flood battered villagers who have flocked to the railway embankment to take shelter.

NF railway chief public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma on Wednesday said that a large number of people along with their essential belongings and cattle have taken shelter on the railway embankment in the Goalpara – Jogighopa section since the last few days.

In view of this, railway authorities have imposed speed restrictions on the Goalpara – Jogighopa route, Sharma said. The NF Railway has also attached additional coaches in popular trains for the convenience of people wanting to travel to and from Guwahati due to disruption of road network in various places in upper and lower Assam, the CPRO said.