50,000 displaced in Assam flash floodsJuly 6th, 2008 - 11:08 am ICT by IANS
Guwahati, July 6 (IANS) Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in Assam have displaced more than 50,000 people overnight, besides uprooting scores of mud-and-thatch homes, officials said Sunday. A government spokesman said the eastern district of Lakhimpur has been the worst hit with an estimated 50 villages hit by the second wave of flooding that began Saturday.
“The situation is critical with many parts of the district under waist deep water,” Lakhimpur police chief S.A. Karim told IANS.
A Central Water Commission bulletin said the main Brahmaputra river and its tributaries were flowing above the danger mark in at least six places. The first wave of floods in Assam last month killed eight people and displaced 400,000, most of them in Lakhimpur district.
“Thousands of people are taking shelter in makeshift camps and on embankments and other raised platforms with authorities providing them with food and other essentials,” Karim said.
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.
Authorities said a rail bridge was washed away forcing suspension of train services in the area. The 2,906-km river - one of the longest in Asia - traverses Tibet, India and Bangladesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
Every year the monsoon causes the river to flood in Assam, a state of 26 million people. In 2004, at least 200 people died and millions were displaced.