27 Killed as Assam Floods Worsen, Rs 251 Cr Released to SDRF

Rivers are flowing above the danger mark even as rescue efforts continue in earnest. 

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The situation in Assam deteriorated further on Tuesday 17 July, as floodwaters submerged 32 of the 33 districts in Assam and the death toll increased to 27.

In light of the situation, the Centre has released Rs 251.55 crore grants-in-aid to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2019-20. Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway as decided to add additional coaches in some trains connecting important cities of lower & upper Assam, for passengers stranded due to floods in Assam.

Altogether 57 lakh people in 4,620 villages are reeling under the impact of the floods that have submerged over 1,53,211 hectares of farm land in 33 districts, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) told PTI.

Two people were killed in a landslide in Kamrup and Dima Hasao district, taking the toll to 17 so far, it said.

The ASDMA report said embankments, roads, bridges, culverts and many other infrastructure have been damaged at various places in Sonitpur, Golaghat, Jorhat, Baksa, Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Hojai, Morigaon, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nagaon, Kamrup, Barpeta, Dhubri, Majuli, Karimganj, Sivasagar, Hailakandi and South Salmara districts, officials said.

Massive erosion has been witnessed in Udalguri, Barpeta and Sonitpur districts.

Around 15 teams of the NDRF with 38 deep divers, 48 IRB boats and other life-saving aids, have been deployed to tackle the flood situation in Assam.

Major Portions of Kaziranga, Pobitora & Manas Rhino Habitats Submerged

Meanwhile, flood waters have submerged major portions of Kaziranga, Pobitora and Manas rhino habitats, forcing the animals to take shelter in the artificial highlands for safety.

A release by the Assam Ministry of Forest and Environment on Monday said about 90 percent of Kaziranaga National Park is presently inundated.

Villagers spread their fishing net to catch fish in flood waters at Hakata, in Baska, Saturday, 13 July. 
Villagers spread their fishing net to catch fish in flood waters at Hakata, in Baska, Saturday, 13 July. 
(Photo: PTI)

Though 155 of the 199 anti-poaching camps of the park are affected by flood waters, the staff and security personnel are discharging their duty using mechanised and country boats, it said.

A special rhino protection force has also been deployed in vulnerable locations of the park.

Around 70 percent of the 46 sq km area at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district has also been inundated, forcing one-horned rhinos to venture into the nearby highlands, a forest official told PTI on Monday, 15 July.

The sanctuary near Guwahati has the highest density of Indian one-horned rhinos in the world at over 100.

Shah Directs Officials to Be on High Alert

Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, 13 July, chaired a high-level meeting on Saturday to review the current flood situation in different parts of the country and the preparedness of the States and Central Ministries and agencies concerned to deal with the situation.

Shah directed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and all agencies dealing with flood rescue and relief operations in Assam to remain on high alert so that they can handle any situation arising out of the natural calamity.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said Shah has also assured all possible help from the Centre to tackle the floods.

Rivers Flowing Above Danger Mark, Rescue Efforts Underway

Brahmaputra has been rising menacingly above the danger level across the state, swelling up in Guwahati and overflowing its bank in the Uzan Bazar area, PTI quoted officials as saying on Monday, 15 July.

Sonowal visited flood-hit Nalbari district and the Solmara flood relief camp on Monday.

Even as the NDRF and the SDRF continued their rescue operations, the Baksa district administration sought the Army's help to evacuate stranded people in Balipur Char village, inundated by the Beki river.

The troops along with civil administration evacuated 150 stranded villagers and shifted them to flood relief shelters in Udalguri village, defence sources reportedly said.

The army also rescued at least 160 people during a night operation on Monday in Assam’s Nalbari district, ANI reported.

An NDRF release said the force rescued more than 2,500 people from flood-affected areas in Baksa, Morigaon, Golaghat, Barpeta and Kamrup districts since 11 July.

Assam Floods: Train Services Severely Disrupted

The swirling flood waters have forced the railway authority to control train services due to “settlement of tracks” in Lumding-Badarpur hill section, Northeast Frontier Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.

A temple is seen half submerged under flood waters, following heavy monsoon rain, in Kamrup district, Friday, 12 July.
A temple is seen half submerged under flood waters, following heavy monsoon rain, in Kamrup district, Friday, 12 July.
(Photo: PTI)

Heavy rains have affected the train tracks between Jatinga Lumpur to New Harangajao station in Lumding-Badarpur hill section of the NF Railway, he added.

As a result, some trains have either been cancelled or short terminated, Sharma said.

(With inputs from PTI)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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