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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Flood toll in Assam, Bihar at 120; Kerala on alert

78 people have died in Bihar so far due to floods and the incessant rains. 5.4 million people have been affected in Assam and 50 people dead.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2019 12:43 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Guwahati/ Patna
A man carries a child in a basket as he wades through a flooded street following incessant rainfall, in Sitamarhi, Bihar
A man carries a child in a basket as he wades through a flooded street following incessant rainfall, in Sitamarhi, Bihar(PTI)

Eleven more deaths were reported in the floods in Assam, taking the death toll to 50 even as the number of districts currently submerged have come down to 27. Till earlier this week, 30 of the state’s 33 districts were under water. Over 5.4 million people have been affected and 1.44 million animals continue to be marooned.

No new deaths were reported in Bihar, where 78 persons have died and more than 5.5 million people have been affected in the floods in 12 of the state’s 30 districts.

However, the situation remained grim as the Bagmati river continued to flow above the danger mark at various places at Sitamarhi and Muzaffapur, and though the Kamala Balam river levels showed a falling trend, it was still above the danger mark in Madhubani.

The combined death toll due to floods in Assam and Bihar, the two worst affected states, now stands at 120.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday launched the direct benefit transfer scheme to provide financial assistance of Rs 6,000 to each family. A sum of Rs 25.46 crore was transferred to the bank accounts of 42,441 families. In all, 6 lakh families are expected to receive relief, Principal Secretary of the Disaster Management Department Prataya Amrit had said.

On Friday, a delegation of 10 Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarians from Assam met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him about the flood situation and urged him to provide financial assistance to tide over the crisis.

“We met the Prime Minister and asked for a special package since the state is reeling under floods. He assured us that the Centre will extend support,” said Horen Sing Bey, from Autonomous District.

The Prime Minister’s Office tweeted on Friday, “A delegation of MPs from Assam, including Union Minister Shri Rameswar Teli met PM @narendramodi. There were discussions on the prevailing flood situation in the state and the steps being taken to assist those affected.”

Rajya Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, who was part of the delegation, also raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha, seeking financial assistance. He told the Upper House that the flood had impacted 56 lakh people in Assam besides the livestock.

“So far 50 persons have died in all including two who died because of landslides,” the state’s Disaster Management Department spokesperson said. According to its report, Barpeta and Dhubri in lower Assam continue to be worst hit with over million people affected in both districts. As many as 147,833 people were living in 755 relief camps across the state and over 11,000 were evacuated including by 399 boats.

In the Kaziranga National Park, a world heritage site famed for its one horned rhinoceros, the casualty count grew to 92 including 8 rhinos. While seven drowned, one fell to its death in the Karbi hills where animals migrate during floods, according to park officials.

Park officials were concerned about poaching as most of the park remained marooned. “So far things are under control, but the threat of poaching is a worry. Out of over 2400 rhinos in the park, only about 30 have migrated outside the park due to floods,” said P Sivakumar, Director, KNP.

On Thursday, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the government will conduct a topographical study of the state to understand the reasons behind the inundation. Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has asked district administration to set up medical and veterinary camps in each assembly constituency with an approved cost of Rs 1 lakh per medical camp and Rs 50,000 per veterinary camp.

In Punjab, flood-like situation prevailed in at least 12 villages in Sangrur district, after an embankment of the swollen Ghaggar river collapsed, damaging the newly planted paddy crop in over 4,000 acres of land, officials said on Friday. Flood rescue operations involving the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Indian Army and the district administration have been going on since Thursday to plug a 150-foot long breach.

Meanwhile, in Kerala, where the Indian Meteorological Department had sounded a red alert, some places in Kozhikode and Idukki districts recorded around 14 cm rainfall till 8.30 am Friday, bringing memories of the floods that brought the state to its knees in 2018. Some places in Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Kottayam districts received rainfall of over 12 cm.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Jul 19, 2019 23:47 IST