Flood situation in Assam grim; over 9 lakh in 23 districts affected, 20 dead
The floods have inundated nearly 60% of Kaziranga National Park and forced the stoppage of firefighting operations in a gas well in Tinsukia district.Flooding near Assam gas well on fire; work to control fire/blow out suspendedUpdated: Jun 28, 2020 20:36 IST
The flood situation in Assam turned grim on Sunday with more areas in the state getting submerged affecting over 9.26 lakh people.
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 2,071 villages in 67 revenue circles in 23 of the 33 total districts of the state have been affected by floods.
Two more deaths due to drowning were reported from Dhemaji and Udalguri districts taking the total deaths due to floods this season to 20. Over 27,000 people are taking shelter in 193 relief camps.
Most rivers in the state except those in Barak Valley witnessed rise in water levels and Brahmaputra and several of its tributaries flowed above the danger mark at many places, according to Central Water Commission bulletin.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah called up Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday to take stock of the flood situation in the state and hardships caused by landslides and erosion. He assured all possible help to Assam in tackling the situation.
Nearly 60% area of the Kaziranga National Park spread over 430 sq km has been inundated due to flooding from heavy rains in the past few days. The Burhapahar and Bagori ranges of the park are most affected.
According to ASDMA, 90 of the 183 forest camps spread across the park, the largest habitat of one-horned rhinos in the world, have been affected. Two of the camps, which are used by forest personnel to monitor activities in the park, have been vacated.
“Flooding is not grave yet and it is normal to have such inundation due to rising water levels in the Brahmaputra, which flows nearby,” P Sivakumar, director of the park.
“Some animals have started moving to higher areas and we have put in measures to control speed of vehicular movement on the national highway that passes close to the park to ensure animals crossing the road to reach the hills of Karbi Anglong are safe,” he added,
On Saturday, forest officials found the carcass of an aged rhino which died due to drowning in the Diphlu River. The carcass was disposed of after check up and its horn was removed.
Floods hit gas well firefighting ops
Efforts to control the fire at Oil India Limited’s (OIL) natural gas well in Tinsukia district have also suffered due to flooding. On Saturday all work at the well and nearby areas was called off as it was considered unsafe.
The gas well located in Baghjan had witnessed a blowout on May 27 and caught fire on June 9 killing 2 firefighters. OIL has earlier stated that it would take about a month to plug the blow out and control the fire, but with rains affecting the work it could get further delayed.
“Due to heavy rainfall, the area has been inundated with flood water. Dangori River (close to the well) is overflowing. All connecting roads to the site are submerged with flood water,” OIL said in a statement on Sunday.
“Bridge on Doomdooma-Baghjan road is broken. Flood water has entered the debris area, Kill Pump area and CMT water pump area making the areas unsafe for carrying out operation,” it added.