Assam floods: Lakhs affected, over 60 dead, relief unlikely soon
Assam has been suffering due to floods for days now. Houses are destroyed, lives have been lost and the state's battle against coronavirus is also derailed. According to a health bulletin, seven more people died in flood-related incidents on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 66. Nearly 36 lakh people across 26 districts are said to have been affected. Here are more details.
Floods between the months of May and August are common in the Northeastern state. Almost all parts, barring a few areas of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, bear the brunt of the deluge. Approximately, 200 die annually because of these floods. The latest bout, however, is more problematic than the previous floods as rescue personnel have to follow coronavirus-induced safety protocols while saving lives.
Reportedly, Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili, Beki, and Kushiyara rivers were flowing above the danger mark in several places. On the current situation, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority's (ASDMA) State Project Coordinator, Pankaj Chakravarty, said the flood situation seems to have peaked. "It is expected to improve in the next few days unless there is unexpected heavy rainfall," he said.
The worst-affected district is Dhubri, where 5.51 lakh suffered. It is followed by the Barpeta district where nearly 5.29 lakh people were affected. In Goalpara, Morigaon, South Salmara, Darrang, Kamrup, Nalbari, and Golaghat districts 4.27 lakh, 4.20 lakh, 2.25 lakh, 1.81 lakh, 1.44 lakh, 1.27 lakh, and 1.23 lakh people were affected respectively. 3,376 villages and 1.28 lakh hectares of agricultural lands have submerged.
In the last 24 hours or so, 3,991 people were rescued by NDRF, the SDRF, district administrations, and locals. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited a relief camp in Teok Rajabari Higher Secondary School, Jorhat district, and spoke to the affected people. "Our government is working on a war footing to provide all necessary assistance to the flood-affected people," he tweeted on Wednesday.
Our Govt is working on a war footing to provide all necessary assistance to the flood-affected people. District admin, @assampolice, SDRF, @NDRFHQ other depts are rescuing the marooned people.— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) July 15, 2020
Visited a flood relief camp at Teok interacted with the inmates. pic.twitter.com/ZzwPNOrPxs
The floods proved catastrophic for wildlife as well. According to forest officials, at least 66 animals have lost their lives and 117 have been rescued. Shockingly, at least 95% of the celebrated Kaziranga National Park was inundated. The Manas and RG Orang National Parks, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Tinsukia Wildlife Division were affected as well. Moreover, nearly 22 lakh domesticated animals suffered.
Like Assam, some parts of Bihar were also affected by floods. Villages adjoining the Kamala river in Darbhanga district were submerged after monsoon rains wreaked havoc, a report in TOI said. A panchayat official said 55,000 people were directly affected and more than 100 houses were submerged. A local revealed that floodwaters rose to 3-4 feet, blocking entry and exit in the village.
"The government has not sent anything to help us out so we are trying to take shelter in nearby dams. Now all that is left to do is pray to Kamala Maiya to soak up the water," the local added.