Assam floods: Number of displaced people almost doubles to 9.26 lakh in less than 24 hours

27,308 take refuge in 193 relief camps in the 12 worst-affected districts, say officials

Two more people drowned on Sunday and more than 9.26 lakh people displaced as 23 out of Assam’s 33 districts reeled under floods.

Landslips at six places in Guwahati also killed a girl while another woman, trapped in debris two days ago, succumbed to her injuries. Altogether 43 people have died in flood and landslips since May 22.

“A person each drowned in Jonai area of Dhemaji district and Udalguri town in Udalguri district on Sunday. Incessant rainfall has made the situation grim with personnel of the National Disaster Response Force and other agencies rescuing 9,303 people,” a spokesperson of the Assam Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said.

According to the ASDMA’s update, 2,071 villages and localities have been flooded across 23 districts — two more than on Saturday. The number of displaced people almost doubled to 9,26,059 in less than 24 hours.

Maintaining social distancing poses a challenge

“We have readied 193 relief camps in the 12 worst affected districts where 27,308 people have taken refuge. Maintaining social distancing due to COVID-19 protocols has been a challenge at these camps, where the priority is providing adequate food, including baby food, and medicines,” the spokesperson said.

Barpeta in western Assam overtook eastern Assam’s Dhemaji as the worst-hit district. Data from the districts said 1,35,415 people have been affected by Barpeta followed by 99,865 in Dhemaji, 96,146 in Nalbari, 95,921 in Morigaon and 86,165 in Goalpara.

Officials of the Water Resources Department said the Brahmaputra and most of its tributaries were flowing above the danger mark.

“Union Home Minister Amit Shah called to enquire about the situation and assured all help and cooperation,” Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said.

OIL operations hit

The flood situation, officials said, has been complicated due to the seepage or breaching of embankments at strategic places along the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. Many roads have been damaged and bamboo, wooden or concrete bridges washed away or rendered unusable.

Electric infrastructure has also been damaged while at least 145 schools and Anganwadi centres, usually chosen as relief camps, submerged or destroyed.

At Baghjan in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia, operations to contain the blowout gas well were abandoned for the third straight day due to flooding of the site. “Since the main approach road has been affected, a reconnaissance is under way for exploring an alternate road to well site,” an OIL spokesperson said.

The situation in the Kaziranga National Park, wildlife officials said, was more or less unchanged for the last 24 hours except for 90 of the 183 anti-poaching camps being inundated, 12 more than on Saturday. No animal death was reported.

Rainfall havoc in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya

Heavy rainfall has caused havoc in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya too, where district authorities have issued advisories to the people to shift temporarily from vulnerable riverbanks and landslip-prone hill slopes.

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