Friday, February 3

Seven dead, 1.4m marooned in Assam flood

NEW DELHI:More than 1.4 million people have been marooned as four more districts in Assam were flooded on Saturday taking the number of affected districts to 25.

According to a Hindustan Times report, the death toll rose to seven in the state with another death in the last 24 hours in Dhemaji district, officials said.

On Saturday, Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to take stock of the grim flood situation and offered the Centre’s assistance.

Almost all the rivers, including the Brahmaputra, Burhidihing, Dhansiri, Desang, Jia Bharali, Kopili, Puthimari, Beki, Katakhal and Kushiyara are in spate and flowing over the danger mark at several places in the state.

According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 14,06,711 people spread over 2,168 villages in 25 districts are affected by the flood. Barpeta in lower Assam and Dhemaji in Upper Assam are among the worst affected. The ASDMA said teams of the NDRF and SDRF have been pressed into service for relief.

Across the state, more than 20,000 people are living in 62 relief camps and the state has opened up 172 relief distribution centres even as others are waiting for help from the government.

“We have been living at the embankment for the last two days. The government is yet to help us,” said Manohar Pegu, a student from Beloguri village, in the neighbourhood of the Eastern Range of the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district. “Last year the Dhansiri did not flood so we were safe. But this year it is bad,” he said adding how he has to travel five kilometers to fetch drinking water.

In neighbouring Kaziranga National Park, director P Sivakumar said 70% of the park’s area is inundated and animals are moving to Karbi Anglong.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the phone and briefed him in detail about the latest flood situation of the state which has affected both the Brahmaputra and the Barak Valley.

According to a statement from his office, the chief minister told Shah that he is monitoring the prevailing flood situation personally and has already interacted with all Deputy Commissioners and top officials of different departments of the districts. “He informed the Union Minister that all district administrations have been asked to remain alert and prepared to respond to the flood situation and extend all help to the affected people,” the statement said adding all ministers, MPs, MLAs, Panchayat members and other public representatives have also been urged to guide the administration and take part in relief and rescue measures.

Shah, according to the statement, stressed on ensuring all out efforts by the state government is made to provide relief to the flood affected people and assured to extend all support and assistance from the central government to the Assam government.