The death toll in Assam floods has gone up to 28, while over a 10-lakh population in 2,084 villages of 22 districts has been affected.

So far 173 releif camps have been opened to accommodate ,166,509 people.

Following a boat capsize in flooded wetland at Sutarpara in Lower Assam’s Goalpara district on Thursday, the bodies of five victims have been recovered. The actual number of passengers aboard is still to be ascertained.

Agriculture Minister Nilamani Sen Deka said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced an ex gratia of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of each the deceased in floods, in addition to Rs. 1.5 lakh offered by the State government. “We have also been informed by the PMO that the Prime Minister has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Committee for Disaster Management to extend all help.”

Mr. Deka said water level in upper Assam districts started receding but in lower Assam districts it was still rising.

On the Majuli river island, where flood waters of the Brahmaputra breached a major embankment on Wednesday and flooded about 100 villages, two teams of the National Disaster Response Force, airlifted from Kolkata, began rescue and relief operations.

In Dima Hasao district, out of about 2,500 passengers of four trains, stranded since Monday due to landslips and breaches on the rail track in the hill section of Lumding-Badarpur metre gauge line, 614 people continued to stay put at Lower Haflong and Harangajao.

The Northeast Frontier Railway, with the help of the Army and the district administration, evacuated 1,886 passengers from Maibong and Lower Haflong till Thursday.

General Manger R. S. Virdi said train services in the hill section, which have been affected following breaches at over 90 places, were likely to remain disrupted for at least 20-25 days.

At a dozen places the damage was serious and at tunnel 17 a longitudinal crack occurred right through.

About 500 passengers stranded at Maibong had to make it on foot and then by road to reach Kilometre 61, the closest approach up to which the Railway could run a special train to evacuate them to Lumding late on Wednesday night. Of 1,600 passengers stranded at Lower Haflong, about 1,400 were evacuated by road on Thursday morning. About 400 passengers are still stranded at Harangajao.

Keywords: Assam floods