Assam remains in grip of floods as toll rises to 119; heavy rains disrupt life in two Bihar districts

A total of 28.32 lakh people in 26 of Assam's 33 districts have been affected by the deluge

FP Staff July 24, 2020 00:27:18 IST
Assam remains in grip of floods as toll rises to 119; heavy rains disrupt life in two Bihar districts

Assam remained in the grip of floods on Thursday with four more casualties reported, while Darbhanga and Muzzafarpur in Bihar were also hit by incessant rain and flooding, reports said.

The IMD also said that north and northeast parts of the country will witness "intense rainfall activity" from 26 to 29 July due to a monsoon trough.

"Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy to very heavy falls are very likely over Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during 26 to 28 July and over Punjab and Haryana during 27 to 29 July," the weather department said.

The intensity and distribution of rainfall is very likely to increase over sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh with widespread rainfall activity along with isolated heavy to extremely heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, in Assam a total of 28.32 lakh people in 26 of Assam's 33 districts have been affected by the deluge, a government report said.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited the areas affected by the deluge in the Darrang and Kamrup districts on Thursday.

One person each died at Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Morigaon and Golaghat districts, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said in a bulletin. The number of people who have lost their lives in floods and landslides in the northeastern state this year has gone up to 119. While 93 of them died in flood-related incidents, 26 were killed in landslides.

The ASDMA report said that the number of affected people rose by over two lakh since Wednesday. However, no new districts were affected by the floods. District administrations have set up 456 relief camps and distribution centres in 20 districts, where 47,213 people have taken shelter, the bulletin said. Nearly 1.19 lakh hectares of crop area have been damaged across Assam, it added.

The Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger mark at Dibrugarh, Dhubri and Goalpara cities, besides at Neamatighat in Jorhat and Tezpur in Sonitpur districts.

Its tributaries — the Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili, Beki, Kushiyara and Sankosh — are also flowing above the danger level at various places.

The ASDMA also said that 123 animals have died in the flood-affected Kaziranga National Park and 150 have been rescued.

Assam governor says 'permanent, scientific' solution required

Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi stressed on the need to find a permanent solution to the perennial problem, saying tackling it annually "will not suffice".

Mukhi, in a statement, said every year, the flood and its resultant effect on land cause widespread erosion and take a toll on the socio-economic condition of the state."Taking on the problem annually will not suffice and therefore, I would recommend and reach out to the Centre for its help to find out a permanent and scientific solution to this perennial problem," he added.

After the aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Dhubri and Udalguri districts, Mukhi asked the state government to reach out to every affected person and ensure that nobody goes hungry.

Though rivers such as the Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili and Beki are the lifelines for the people of Assam, they need to be tamed during the monsoon season and for that, a long-term, exhaustive study is required, the governor said. He also asked the state government to ensure the safety of animals and provide food to those taking refuge on high lands.

As the state is battling against the twin problems of floods and COVID-19, Mukhi said in this extraordinary situation, every effort is being made to reach out to people to ensure that they adhere to all safety protocols so that the contagion does not spread.

Meanwhile, Sonowal said the current wave of floods has severely affected several districts and claimed the lives of many people. He said the state is simultaneously battling against COVID-19, flood, erosion, storm, landslides and the Baghjan gas well fire.

Sonowal said the government would not tolerate anomalies in flood relief operations, adding that strong punitive action would be taken against those indulging in corrupt practices.

People struggle to feed families, cattle in Bihar districts hit by floods

People in the Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur districts of Bihar have been hit hard by the floods and the incessant rainfall.

People are struggling to feed their families and cattle, and are forced to live outside on the streets as houses are submerged, ANI reported. Jagdev, a resident of Dilahi village in Darbhanga was quoted by ANI as saying, "After the floodwater filled our houses, we do not have a place to sleep. There is no work due to the current situation (COVID-19 pandemic) and in this regard, the government has not provided any help to us.".

Another local, Lal Vachan Yadav said, "Our houses have been submerged in the floodwaters. As a result, we are living on the streets. Even the local leaders have refused to help us and said they could only help with the government's support."

On being asked about the COVID-19 health norms, Yadav said, "If there are 10 members in a family, they have only given us four masks. It is not possible for us to follow health norms."

Meanwhile, some are building makeshift boats using tubes and wood to travel in emergency situations. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 21 rescue teams in Bihar.

NDRF DG SN Pradhan on Thursday said that the monsoon this year has been above normal and there has been heavy rain. This is leading to a flood-like situation in different parts of the country.

Bihar and Assam continue to be sensitive areas that have been affected by floods."The rescue operations are underway. In Bihar, the water flow depends on rains in Nepal's Terai region," said Pradhan.

He further said that water stagnation may persist and chances are that the NDRF teams will remain deployed. No deaths have been reported in Bihar so far but people are facing snake bites, he added.

Meanwhile, in Muzzafarpur people said that they were struggling to continue their daily routine, ANI reported.

Bihar's river Gandak likely to cross 'highest flood level' of 64.1 metres

Amid the floods in Bihar, river Gandak at Dumariaghat in the Gopalganj district is likely to peak around 64.25 meters on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, said the Central Water Commission (CWC) on Thursday.

"River Gandak at Dumariaghat in the Gopalganj district of Bihar has crossed previous Highest Flood Level (HFL) of 64.1 meters and is flowing at 64.12 meters with a rising trend," said CWC.

CWC added , "It is likely to peak around 64.25 meters during Thursday midnight and then slowly fall." Earlier, the HFL of 64.1 meters was recorded on 17 August, 2017, stated the CWC.

With inputs from agencies

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