The situation in Assam worsened as three more people died in flood-related incidents, while nearly 28 lakh people in 26 of the states 33 districts are affected by the deluge, an official bulletin said on Friday (July 24).
The Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili, and Beki rivers are currently flowing above the danger level in several districts.
Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Morigaon districts reported one death each, according to the daily flood report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).
The death toll due to floods and landslides in the state this year has risen to 122. While 96 people were killed in flood-related incidents, 26 died in landslides, it said.
The ASDMA also said the number of people affected by the deluge is around 27 lakh on Friday, nearly 50,000 less than that on Thursday (July 23).
Goalpara is the worst-hit district in Assam, with over 4.7 lakh people affected. Flood waters have washed away the houses of hundreds of people in Sonitpur and Nagaon districts.
Over 50,000 displaced/homeless people are taking shelter in 301 relief camps. Flood waters have also inundated more than 1.22 hectares of crop area across Assam.
State authorities and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel are engaged in rescues and relief operations and helping transport stranded people to safety.
Cumulatively, more than 56.6 lakh people have been affected by the floods across the state during this year.
Chief Minister Sonowal visited also visited the areas affected by the deluge in Darrang and Kamrup districts.
Governor conducts aerial survey of flood-hit areas
Governor Jagdish Mukhi too conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Thursday and said he would request the Centre to find a permanent solution to the state’s yearly monsoon misery.
The governor said in a statement that every year, the flood and its resultant effect on land cause widespread erosion and take a toll on the socio-economic condition of the state.
“Taking on the problem annually will not suffice and therefore, I would recommend and reach out to the Centre for its help to find out a permanent and scientific solution to this perennial problem,” he added.
After the aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Dhubri and Udalguri districts, Mukhi asked the state government to reach out to every affected person and ensure that nobody goes hungry.
Though rivers such as the Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili and Beki are the lifelines for the people of Assam, they need to be tamed during the monsoon season and for that, a long-term, exhaustive study is required, the governor said.
He also asked the state government to ensure the safety of animals and provide food to those taking refuge on high lands. The ASDMA said 123 animals have died in the flood-affected Kaziranga National Park and 150 have been rescued.
President speaks to Assam CM, takes stock of flood situation
President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal over the flood situation and expressed solidarity with the affected people of the state.
Kovind stated that the entire nation is standing with the people of Assam and this difficult phase will pass soon, the chief minister said. “Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji took stock of the flood & overall situation of the state over phone. I am humbled by his statement that the entire nation is with the people of Assam & thank him for his deep concern, constant support and guidance,” Sonowal tweeted.
“Expressing solidarity with the affected people, the President said that the nation today stands with the people of Assam who are going through a very difficult time. He also hoped that the challenging times would soon be over and normalcy would return to the State,” a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Earlier in the day, the President flagged off nine trucks carrying Red Cross relief supplies for the flood and COVID-19 affected people of Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
During the telephonic conversation, Sonowal informed Kovind that along with the flood situation, the state is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, erosion, storm, landslides, African swine fever and gas well fire at Baghjan in Tinsukia district.
“The Chief Minister informed that huge areas, including farm lands and houses, have been severely affected by flood and erosion in the state. He said that the government machinery has been put on high alert,” the statement said.
The district administrations have made adequate arrangements for sheltering the affected people and sufficient measures are taken for the children and elderly, Sonowal said.
“The Chief Minister further said that he has been visiting different places to monitor and assess the damage caused by flood and erosion and the rescue and relief operations.
“Chief Minister Sonowal thanked the President on behalf of the people of Assam for his call and sought his blessings to tide over the present crisis,” the statement said.
Shocked by what has happened: Prince William, Kate Middleton on inundation of Kaziranga
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton expressed concern and distress over the devastation caused in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park by floods, which have killed many animals and affected the livelihood of several people.
In a letter to the park’s Director P Sivakumar, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were heartbroken to hear about the appalling devastation to the Kaziranga National Park and its wildlife caused by very heavy monsoon flooding. “We have the happiest memories of our visit to Kaziranga in April 2016 and are shocked by what has happened,” Prince William wrote in the letter.
The deaths of so many animals, including the one-horned rhino, is deeply upsetting, he said. “We know from our visit how dedicated all the staff in Kaziranga are in caring for the park’s wildlife, and can only begin to imagine what a difficult time this must be,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)