Flood alert in Assam, thousands displaced
The state government sounds an alert to monitor the flood situation in the wake of rising level of all major rivers.india Updated: Jun 19, 2007 14:22 IST
The Assam government on Tuesday sounded an alert after heavy monsoon rains and flash floods inundated more than a hundred villages, displacing nearly 150,000 people.
"A general alert has been sounded across the state with a central control room set up to monitor the flood situation with the rising level of all major rivers leading to floodwaters inundating hundreds of villages," said Bhumidhar Barman, state revenue, relief and rehabilitation minister.
According to a Central Water Commission bulletin, the Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger level in at least seven places in Assam.
The Regional Meteorological Centre on Tuesday warned of more rains and thundershowers in the next 24 hours.
"So far 125 villages have been affected with an estimated 149,856 people displaced in the first wave of floods to hit the state," Barman told IANS.
Residents of flood-hit villages in the North Lakhmipur and Karimgang districts were forced out of their homes late on Monday and are now sheltered in makeshift tarpaulin tents and on other raised platforms and embankments.
Barman said the flood situation was grim with reports of breaches in embankments reported from some places. "We are providing relief materials like rice and other essentials, besides medicines and healthcare facilities."
Thousands of villagers have lost their homes and croplands in the floods.
"A total land area of about 4,285 hectares has been submerged, including nearly 1,000 hectares of farmland," said a statement issued by the Assam government.
Road transport has also been hit in some parts of the state because highways are flooded.
The 2,906 km long Brahmaputra is one of Asia's largest rivers. It traverses its first stretch of 1,625 km in China's Tibet region, the next 918 km in India and the remaining 363 km through neighbouring Bangladesh before converging with the Bay of Bengal.
Every year, floods leave a trail of destruction, washing away villages, submerging paddy fields and drowning livestock, besides causing loss of human life and property, in this remote state with a population of 26 million.
The monsoon was scattered in Assam last year thereby sparing millions of people from the ravaging floods. However, in 2004, at least 200 people had died and more than 12 million were displaced due to the floods.