Fresh floods affect northeast, Assam toll reaches 15
In an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Assam government asked the Army to get involved in rescue and relief operations and put Indian Air Force choppers on standby.india Updated: Aug 14, 2017 09:19 IST
Heavy rainfall since Thursday resulted in flooding across 21 of Assam’s 33 districts, claiming 15 lives — 10 in the past 24 hours — and affecting more than 22 lakh people.
Floods also affected Tripura, forcing 9,917 families to take shelter in 75 relief camps. An 11-year-old girl drowned in state capital Agartala, while another person was electrocuted elsewhere.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal termed the second wave of deluge since July as the “worst floods in decades”. The first wave had claimed 84 lives in Assam and another 62 across Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland between May and July.
With Saturday’s casualties, the death toll since May has touched 161.
In an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Assam government asked the Army to get involved in rescue and relief operations and put Indian Air Force choppers on standby.
Additional personnel of national and state disaster response forces were deployed in the affected districts to rescue marooned people.
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), more than 1.83 lakh people displaced in the recent floods are taking shelter in 678 relief camps across the state.
The Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level at Neematighat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri. Ten other rivers across the state are also flowing above the red mark at one place each.
“Flood waters have submerged 2,734 villages and more than 1.34 lakh hectare of crop area affected. Erosion and breaches of embankments have been reported in 11 districts,” an ASDMA officer said.
Parts of the national highway 37 connecting western and eastern Assam got submerged at Jakhalabandha, 175 km east of Guwahati, on Sunday morning disrupting movement of vehicles for several hours.
Rail link between northeast and the rest of the country also snapped on Sunday after railway tracks got submerged or damaged at several places in Assam and West Bengal due to flooding.
“A number of trains had to be stopped at various stations, and many other trains had to be cancelled or rescheduled or short-terminated,” Pranav Jyoti Sharma, spokesperson of Northeast Frontier Railway said.
Railway authorities cancelled 20 trains on Sunday causing distress to thousands of passengers.
Defence spokesperson Lt Col Suneet Newton said army personnel rescued some 3,000 marooned people in western and central Assam districts.
BJP flood helpline in Tripura
Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar and revenue minister Badal Choudhury visited flood-prone areas on the banks of river Howrah on Saturday and ordered officials to monitor the situation. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, was not convinced with the efforts of the Left Front government.
The BJP accused the Sarkar government of selectively providing relief materials to flood victims in camps run by CPI(M) cadre. It also announced a 24x7 flood helpline.
“The government is not prepared to combat disasters. Rescue workers have very few boats, while relief camps lack sanitation and other basic facilities. Our party workers tried to provide food to the victims, but CPI(M) cadre stopped them,” state BJP president Biplab Deb said.
Party spokesperson Ashok Sinha said, “We have provided three helpline numbers for assistance to marooned people.” He added that Union home minister Rajnath Singh and DoNER minister Jitendra Singh were being updated about the flood situation.
CAG report on Manipur flood
Heavy to moderate rainfall since August 9 has affected the movement of heavy vehicles on the Imphal-Jiribam highway in Manipur. A house under construction was also swept away in a landslide at Tamenglong, 150 km west of Imphal, on Saturday.
Officials said they took precautionary measures keeping in mind the first wave of floods that claimed 19 lives by mid-July.
But a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pulled up the government for “flood management done without scientific assessment of flood-prone areas” and not complying with the action plan of national disaster management guidelines.
(With inputs from Priyanka Deb Barman in Agartala and Sobhapati Samom in Imphal)