A fresh bout of heavy rains that hit South Asia this week has led to flash floods in several countries, with the death toll rising over 175 in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, according to media reports. In India, scores have died and thousands have fled their homes as monsoon floods swept across Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Bihar and multiple states in the North East.
In Uttarakhand, six persons were killed and one army jawan went missing in two separate cloudbursts in Dharchula sub-division in the early hours of Monday. However, Hindustan Times reported that the death toll in the landslides that followed the cloudbursts might be as high as 28. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat flew to the rain-hit areas in Pithoragarh district later in the day.
Rawat said there was no need for panic as the administration was prepared to tackle the situation. Relief and rescue operations have been launched on war footing in the affected areas by the army, NDRF and SDRF personnel, and people in areas prone to landslides were being evacuated to safety, he said.
In Bihar, 41 people have died and 65.37 lakh people have been affected after heavy rains triggered flash floods in the last three days. Twenty people have died in Araria, six in Sitamarhi, five in Kisanganj, three each in East Champaran, West Champaran and Darbhanga districts, and one in Madhubani, an official told PTI. Flood waters have also engulfed areas in Kisanganj, three blocks of Purnea and one block of Katihar, damaging roads severely.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar conducted an aerial survey of the 12 affected districts in Bihar, and blamed the extreme weather in Nepal for the situation in his state. He said besides the army column which was sent to Purnea, four teams of NDRF had arrived on Monday and six more NDRF teams landed in the state on Tuesday.
Assam is one of the worst-hit states as 32 lakh people in 25 districts have been affected and three more persons lost their lives taking the toll in the second wave of the deluge to 18. According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) the toll in this year's flood-related incidents in the state climbed to 102. Till Sunday, 22.5 lakh people were hit by the latest wave of flood across 21 districts.
Dhubri is the worst-affected district with 7.79 lakh people displaced by the incessant rains, followed by Morigaon where 3.83 lakh people have been hit. Currently, the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Jorhat, Tezpur, Goalpara and Dhubri.
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The second wave of floods in Assam has submerged rhino habitats in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, forcing animals to take shelter on highlands. According to a KNP official, over 85 percent of the national park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was inundated.
PTI reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the chief ministers of Bihar and Assam and assured them of all support from the Centre to mitigate the floods.
In Arunachal Pradesh too, the flood situation continued to be grim in several districts with recurring landslides disrupting road traffic. Major portions of Anjaw, East Siang and Namsai districts were affected by the flood while Papum Pare, East Kameng and West Siang were partly hit. A food crisis looms large in the districts bordering China. Deputy Commissioner Mamata Riba says he requested the government to facilitate air dropping of food packets if the road remains blocked for two more days.
Train services to the North East have also been disrupted following the rains. All incoming trains from various parts of the country towards the North East, which were to reach either Katihar or Malda town till 10 am on Tuesday, have been cancelled, an official told PTI.
In West Bengal, around 60,000 people in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts have been affected by floods with all major rivers in north Bengal flowing above danger marks. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "We are concerned about the flood situation across the country. Earlier floods had affected south Bengal. Now north Bengal is also affected. We are monitoring the situation round-the-clock for relief and rescue operations."
Many places in Odisha also received heavy rains with Malkangiri and Mandira Dam in Sundargarh district gauging 11 cm each, followed by Rayagada.
Heavy rains occurred at isolated places in Chhattisgarh while parts of Vidarbha region and Madhya Pradesh witnessing moderate rainfall, but there was no significant change in maximum and minimum temperatures.
In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took an aerial survey of the flood-affected Gonda, Shrawasti, Balrampur and Bahraich districts and said district administrations have been directed to ensure proper arrangement of relief material.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 15, 2017 13:05 PM