Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Aug 12 - Ten persons died in the last 24 hours as the number of people affected by the second wave of floods in the State rose to nearly 11 lakh.
A breached portion of the Besamara-Halodhibari embankment in Majuli on Saturday. – UB Photos
According to an evening bulletin of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, those killed in the flood included six in Kokrajhar district, two in Dhemaji and one each in Lakhimpur and Morigaon.
A total of 10,99,217 people have been affected in the floods in 1,752 villages of 66 revenue circles in 19 districts – Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Baksa, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Morigaon, Golaghat, Jorhat, Majuli, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. Dhemaji, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Dhubri have been the worst hit in this wave of floods.
A report from Lakhimpur said that NEEPCO has been releasing waters from its Ranganadi project since Thursday, leading to flooding in the downstream areas.
The situation worsened in Majuli where a large area of the Besamara-Halodhibari embankment was breached in Jengraimukh and Nayabazar areas.
According to the Central Water Commission, the Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger level at Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhubri. The Burhidehing in Dibrugarh district, Subansiri in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri in Golaghat, Jia Bharali in Sonitpur, Puthimari in Kamrup, Beki in Barpeta, Gaurang in Kokrajhar and Sankosh in Dhubri were also flowing above the red mark.
Altogether 268 relief camps have been set up in the State and 63,797 flood-hit people are taking shelter in them.
Army personnel were deployed in the rescue-and-relief operations in Kokrajhar, while additional NDRF personnel are being rushed to Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Majuli and Chirang districts following requests from the respective Deputy Commissioners.
At least 56 houses have been washed away in the floods which have caused damages to several infrastructure across the State.
Around 1,00,441 hectares of cropland have been devastated in the flood waters and many roads in the flood-hit areas were submerged, snapping communication lines.
It may also be mentioned that 11 anti-poaching camps at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia were also said to be under waters.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today visited two flood relief camps – at Dhelakhat in Tinsukia district and Dinjoy Hazarimal Higher Secondary School in Dibrugarh district – and enquired about the arrangements for the inmates. He also interacted with the inmates and enquired about the quality of relief materials provided to them.
Later talking to the media-persons, the Chief Minister said that the government’s first priority is to provide relief materials to the flood-affected people at this hour and all Deputy Commissioners have been instructed to ensure adequate flood relief to the affected people. Proper rehabilitation measures have been taken for the affected people and no stone would be left unturned in helping the distraught people at this hour, he added.
Saying that flood is not just a problem in Assam alone as it also causes havoc in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, etc., Sonowal said that a multi-nation approach for finding a permanent solution to the problem would be adopted by the government so that recurring devastation can be better tackled in future.
Saying that embankments are major safeguards against floods, Sonowal added that due to lack of proper strengthening of these embankments during the past 70 years most of these have became vulnerable and prone to breach at many areas. The present government has worked vigorously to repair and strengthen the embankments before the onset of monsoon and completed works on 88 embankments in the State, he added.
The Chief Minister also said that the Central government has taken the flood situation in the State very seriously and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself reviewed the relief and rehabilitation measures carried out so far in the State recently. Modi also announced a package for immediate relief and rehabilitation for the flood-hit people of Assam and other northeastern States.
Saying that the river beds of Brahmaputra and its tributaries have become shallow thereby reducing their water carrying capacity, Sonowal said that increased rainfall this year also have made matters worse as the State has witnessed severe floods.