Guwahati / 6 Dead, Over 8 Lakh Affected In Assam Flood; Rivers Above Danger Mark

NDTV : Jul 13, 2019, 10:31 AM

A monsoon flood in Assam has inundated at least 21 of the 27 districts in the north-east state and affected over eight lakh people, officials said. The Brahmaputra river - one of the largest rivers in the world that cuts through Assam's biggest city Guwahati - and five other rivers are flowing above the danger mark, officials said. Six people died due the floods.

Ferry services across Assam were stopped on Friday after the weather office forecast more rain this weekend.

Officials said over 27,000 hectares of farmland are under floodwater and over 7,000 people have been evacuated to 68 relief camps across the state.

In neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, two schoolchildren died after they got buried in a landslide in Tawang, close to the border with China. Fresh landslides have cut off more areas since Tuesday when heavy rain began.

Dhemaji and Lakhimpur in the tea-rich Upper Assam, and Bongaigaon and Barpeta in Lower Assam are the worth hit. Officials said floodwaters from the higher areas will flow towards the valleys, worsening the situation in Lower Assam areas.

Bhutan has also issued a flood warning for areas in the foothills.

Among the 17 districts, Barpeta is the worst-affected with over 85,000 people seeking shelter, said the Assam State Disaster Management Authority.

Floodwaters also entered Kaziranga National Park in Upper Assam - home of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros - forcing the animals to take shelter on platforms constructed for their safety during flood, officials said.

Speed restriction has been imposed on movement of vehicle along the National Highway near the park as the animals would try to evade floodwaters and reach higher grounds, crossing the highway.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke with the deputy commissioners of the affected districts via video conference on Thursday to assess the situation. He directed the deputy commissioners to set up round-the-clock control rooms and respond to people's calls for help during emergency.

Amid the flood, Assam is also grappling with rising cases of encephalitis and the state government has cancelled the leaves of all health department employees till the end of September to deal with the outbreak.

Nine districts in Assam are most vulnerable to encephalitis. Since 2013, over 700 people have died of the disease.