Flood situation critical in Assam, 385,000 people hitJune 17th, 2008 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS
Guwahati, June 17 (IANS) With two more deaths and another 185,000 being uprooted from their homes, 27 people have been killed by flash floods and landslides in the northeast and 385,000 displaced so far this season, officials said Tuesday. Two people drowned late Monday in Assam’s Lakhimpur district after their wooden boat capsized while trying to escape surging floodwaters, the state’s Relief and Rehabilitation minister Bhumidhar Barman said.
“The death toll has now mounted to eight (in Assam) and about 385,000 people displaced from their homes are now sheltered in makeshift relief camps in Lakhimpur and Sonitpur districts,” the minister said.
A government statement said 346 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.
On Saturday, a series of mudslides in the adjoining Arunachal Pradesh state left 19 people dead and about 15 injured. The incidents took place in and around state capital Itanagar.
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 missions as and when required,” the minister said.
A Central Water Commission bulletin Tuesday said the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries were flowing above the danger level in at least 10 places with the waters likely to rise further. The Regional Meteorological Centre warned of more rain and thundershowers in the next 24 hours.
The 2,906 km long Brahmaputra is one of Asia’s largest rivers that traverses its first stretch of 1,625 km in China’s Tibet region, the next 918 km in India and the remaining 363 km through neighbouring Bangladesh before meeting the Padma and flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
Every year, the floods leave a trail of destruction, washing away villages, submerging paddy fields and drowning livestock, besides causing loss of human life and property in Assam.
In 2004, more than 200 people were killed in floods in Assam.