Torrential rain, landslides and flash floods wreaked havoc in several parts of North East India the past week, claiming 17 lives in Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram.
More than 36,000 people were rescued from flood-affected regions in Assam and Tripura alone. Erratic power and water supply have also forced many schools and governments offices to remain closed. A number of embankments have caved in at various places, with several rivers flowing above the danger mark.
In Manipur, 12,000 households affected
At least 55,000 people were displaced in Imphal West alone as the valley remained inundated under floodwaters. The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has opened 44 relief camps across the district. "We have provided all necessary commodities in the camps," said Pravin Singh, district commissioner. "The situation this year has been particularly grim. Around 106 of the total 176 villages in Imphal West are reeling under knee-deep waters. Nearly 12,000 households have been affected."
Some of the worst-hit areas in the district are Wangoi, Lamphel, Iroishemba, Lamsang, Patsoi and Konthoujam. Singh also said that 100 quintals of rice, 330 quintals of dal and 259 litres of edible oil have been distributed. Efforts are also on to provide mosquito nets, candles and potable drinking water to those affected.
Authorities also said that the national highway connecting Manipur with southern Assam's Barak Valley was cut off after mudslides.
Six rivers in Assam flow above danger mark
At least five people were reported dead and more than 1.5 lakh affected in 350 villages of Biswanath and Karbi Anglong West and the districts of Karbi Anglong East, Golaghat, Karimganj and Hailakandi. The swelling Difolu river has submerged National Highway-37 in Golaghat, disrupting traffic.
With fresh showers in several parts of the state in the past 24 hours, a few more areas of Barak Valley were reported inundated. The situation in Karimganj especially remains grim. According to official sources, six rivers in the valley are flowing precariously above danger levels. According to data from Sunday afternoon, the water level of Longai river was at 23.14 metres, while its danger mark is 22 metres. Similarly, Singla river crossed its danger mark of 17.98 metres to reach 18.16 metres. Kushiara river, which has a danger level of 14.94 metres, was marked at 16.42 metres.
"Heavy downpour for the past three days has drowned several villages in the district, particularly in Patharkandi, where we have set up 55 relief camps," said Dhrubajyoti Deb, additional deputy commissioner of Karimganj. "The SDRF is conducting rescue operations."
Some of the worst-affected areas in Patharkandi are Nayadahar, where a river embankment had caved in recently, Jherjheri, Bazaricherra, Lowairpoa and Kabaribond.
According to a bulletin the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) released recently, around 82,225 people were affected in the first wave of floods that hit Hailakandi. As per data from Sunday afternoon, the Katakhal river was marked at 22.12 metres as it crossed its danger level of 20.27 metres. The Dhaleshwari river's water has breached its danger mark of 28.05 metres to reach 31.75 metres. The worst-affected villages in Hailakandi include Sudarshanpur, Nimaichandpur, Dholai-Molai and Konkonbasti. Road connectivity between Hailakandi and Mizoram has snapped because several highways are under water. Officials also said that 1,642 hectares of cropland have been damaged.
Deputy Commissioner of Hailakandi Adil Khan said: “Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and SDRF have evacuated 271 people stranded in the floods. Eleven roads are submerged across the district, disrupting surface communication to various parts of the state."
Assam environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya toured different flood-hit regions on Thursday to take stock of the situation. The legislator from Hailakandi, Anowar Hussain Laskar, had also visited affected areas under his constituency and supervised relief operations.
In Cachar district on Sunday, the Barak river was flowing at 20.86 metres, above its danger mark of 19.83 metres. Some of the affected areas in the district are Borkhola, Katigorah and Sonai. "A total of 15 relief camps — 10 in Silchar Sadar circle and five in Katigorah — have been set up," said Shamim Ahmed Laskar, the project officer of the Cachar District Disaster Management Authority. "Around 493 hectares of arable lands have been inundated in Cachar."
Recurring landslides since Wednesday along National Highway-6 between Malidhar and Sonapur have disrupted traffic movement between Barak Valley and Shillong/Guwahati. Railway services have also been temporarily suspended in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section due to mudslides and tunnel washouts, snapping connectivity with Tripura.
Assam water resources minister Keshab Mahanta visited some of the flood-affected areas in Barak Valley on Sunday and reviewed the situation.
Tripura seeks assistance from army, NDRF
With the rain-fed Khowai river inundating fresh areas, the situation in Tripura deteriorated on Saturday. The toll has already risen to four in the past two days, and around 26,000 were reported affected. Seven of the eight districts in the state have been affected, with the situation in Unakoti being the worst. Government sources said 180 relief camps have been set up to provide shelter to as many as 6,054 families.
The state government has sought assistance from the Indian Army and NDRF to evacuate people from flooded areas. Besides Unakoti, some of the other severely affected regions are South Tripura, Dhalai, North Tripura, Gomati and a few West Tripura districts.
"Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb spoke to Union home minister Rajnath Singh for immediate rescue operations by the Army," said Sanjay Kumar Mishra, a senior official in the Chief Minister's Office. "He did an aerial survey of Kailashahar, the headquarters of Unakoti district."
In view of the flood situation, Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah was also advised to cancel his visit to the state on Monday.
Sources say river water levels in Mizoram receding
More than 1,066 families were reported affected in the state. Government sources said that water levels in the Tlawng and Langkaih rivers have started receding. However, the road connecting Aizawl with Lunglei via Thenzawl was blocked for a few hours in Mualthuam village in Lunglei district before officials of the Public Works Department cleared a massive landslide near Ramlaitui.
Some of the worst-hit villages were Lunglei district's Tlabung town and its surrounding villages, including Lamthai, Tipperaghat and Serhuan. Around 700 families in these regions were shifted to safer places after their homes were inundated by the flooding Chhimtuipui river along the Mizoram-Bangladesh border.
The authors are freelance writers and members of 101reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.
Updated Date: Jun 18, 2018 17:04 PM