Heavy rains in Assam worsen flood situation, 400,000 hit (Lead)

June 17th, 2008 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, June 17 (IANS) Heavy rains Tuesday again lashed Assam, worsening the flood situation as the Brahmaputra river burst its banks and washed away villages in some areas, affecting around 30,000 people. The total number of people displaced in flash floods and landslides in Assam has risen to 415,000 while eight people have been killed so far. In neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, a series of mud slides has left 19 people dead and about 15 injured. The incidents took place in and around state capital Itanagar.

A government spokesman in Assam said at least 20 more villages in Lakhimpur district were inundated Tuesday due to floodwaters of the Brahmaputra river.

“The number of people affected in Sonitpur and Lakhimpur districts is now about 415,000,” a water resources department official said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Tuesday made an aerial survey of the worst-hit Lakhimpur district and visited relief camps.

“I have instructed officials to take all possible measures for relief and rehabilitation,” the chief minister told IANS.

Two people drowned late Monday in Lakhimpur district after their wooden boat capsized while trying to escape surging floodwaters, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Bhumidhar Barman said.

“The death toll has now mounted to eight,” the minister said.

A government statement said 366 villages were hit by the floods that began over the weekend.

The swirling floodwaters of the Brahmaputra river have cut a treacherous swathe across the district breaching more than a dozen vital embankments, besides sweeping away road bridges and stretches of highways.

“The situation is grim with at least 15 breaches in embankments, besides road links snapped to Lakhimpur after a few culverts were washed away by the gushing floodwaters,” Barman said.

Army soldiers in rafts and wooden boats have rescued hundreds of people over the weekend in Lakhimpur district.

“The army is working overtime in the affected areas and we have kept on standby Indian Air Force helicopters to carry out relief and rescue mission as and when required,” the minister said.

A Central Water Commission bulletin Tuesday said the main Brahmaputra river and its tributaries were flowing above the danger level in at least 10 places with the trend likely to increase.

The Regional Meteorological Centre warned of more rains and thunder showers over the next day.

Every year floods on the Brahmaputra leave a trail of destruction, washing away villages, submerging paddy fields, drowning livestock, besides causing loss of human life and property in Assam. In 2004, more than 200 people were killed in floods in the state.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Environment |