One million hit by floods in Assam, situation critical

September 2nd, 2008 - 10:51 am ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Sep 2 (IANS) The flood situation in Assam continued to be critical Tuesday with an estimated one million people displaced and 15 dead, even as army soldiers were engaged in a massive relief and rescue mission, officials said.”According to latest reports, 16 of the state’s 27 districts have been hit by the floods. About one million people have been displaced and 15 are dead. The overall situation continues to be critical,” Assam Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Bhumidhar Barman told IANS.

A government statement Tuesday said 1,346 villages were hit by the floods, affecting a land area of about 2,69,609 hectares. The cumulative figures are from the first wave of floods that began May 28. This is the second wave of floods that began a fortnight ago.

“The worst hit districts are Kamrup, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, and Morigaon where the situation is still very grim,” Barman said.

The swirling floodwaters of the Brahmaputra river have cut a treacherous swathe across Assam breaching more than a 20 vital embankments, besides sweeping away road bridges and stretches of highways. Army soldiers in rafts and wooden boats, besides Indian Air Force helicopters, have rescued hundreds of people over the weekend in Kamrup district.

“Thousands of people are staying in makeshift shelters, with the government providing food and other essentials to the displaced people, besides healthcare facilities,” 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 12 places with the trend likely to increase. The regional meteorological centre warned of more rains and thundery showers.

The 2,906 km long Brahmaputra is one of Asia’s largest rivers that traverse 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 converging into the Bay of Bengal.

Every year, the floods 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 Assam.

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