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Assam floods: Death toll reaches 59, threat of diseases looms

Nearly 1.2 million people were affected by the floods in 24 of Assam’s 32 districts.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2017 23:16 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam,Floods,Assam Floods
Cattle move through floodwater at Hiloikhunda village in Darrang district of Assam.(PTI Photo)

The rain relented on Saturday but swathes of Assam remained flooded and seven more deaths were reported, taking the toll to 59 in this season’s deluge.

Nearly 1.2 million people were affected by the floods in 24 of the state’s 32 districts. About 122,000 people were rendered homeless and are living in relief shelters.

As the Brahmaputra, Barak and their tributaries breached embankments after torrential monsoon rain dunked the northeast, anger and despair are mounting in the submerged areas. Allegations of poor disaster relief also swirled in the state.

But the government dismissed the allegations, saying adequate resources are allotted for flood survivors and efforts are being made to save the marooned people and distribute relief quickly.

“All district administrations have been provided enough funds ahead of the floods and instructions issued to distribute relief generously in all affected areas,” finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Water resources minister Keshab Mahanta was heckled on Friday by flood-hit residents at Majuli, the Brahmaputra river island and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s constituency, for alleged delay in handing relief material such as food and water.

Potable water has become a major problem in many villages, putting the people at risk of contracting communicable diseases such as cholera.

Floodwaters receded in some areas on Saturday but the Brahmaputra continued to flow above the danger mark in Jorhat, Tezpur, Goalpara and Dhubri.

The floods have the potential to drain the public exchequer as 200,000 hectares of cropland were submerged, which will affect the state’s farming economy.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 20:19 IST