The flood situation in central and lower Assam turned critical, with the water level of the Brahmaputra rising alarmingly and flowing above the danger mark in most places. The situation continued to be grim in upper Assam too. The death toll in the current wave of the flood has gone up to 18 and seven persons were reported missing on Tuesday.
As over 17.60 lakh flood-hit people, including about four lakh of them in relief camps, suffered in 16 affected districts, food packets were dropped by the Army and Indian Air Force helicopters in some of worst-hit areas such as the Majuli river-island in upper Assam's Jorhat district, Sootea in Sonitpur district, Sadiya sub-division in upper Assam's Tinsukia district. Rescue teams of the Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescued thousands of marooned people in the affected districts and evacuated them to safer places.
The death toll comprises 5 in Tinsukia district, four in Morigaon district, 2 each in Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts and 1 each in Sivasagar, Golaghat, Nagaon, Kamrup and Darrang districts.
Assam Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Prithvi Majhi and Agriculture Minister Nilamani Sen Deka, accompanied by Chief Secretary N.K. Das and Principal Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management V.K. Pipersenia, made an aerial survey of the Majuli River Island and other flood-hit areas of upper Assam on Tuesday.
“Majuli is still completely under water. We could only see roofs of houses of the river-island and even though we circled over it several times during our aerial inspection we could hardly locate any place of the island that was not submerged in floodwater,” Mr. Deka told The Hindu after the aerial inspection. Majuli remained cut off for the six consecutive day on Tuesday as the ferry services to and from the island in the heart of the Brahmaputra had to be suspended.
Mr. Deka said on Tuesday the overall situation in central and lower Assam turned critical while in upper Assam the situation remained grim but water level started receding steadily. So far 16.70 lakh people of 2055 villages in 16 districts have been affected in the current wave of flood, he said. Of those affected, over four lakh people have taken shelter in 297 relief camps and 127 shelter centres. Flood has destroyed standing crop on 1.39 lakh hectares of land. The actual crop damage would be much more and correct assessment of the crop damage would be possible only after the water receded. The Brahmaputra has inundated several areas along its banks in the city and is threatening to overtop the busy Mahatma Gandhi Road in Fancybazar area. As all low-lying areas of the Kaziranga National Park remained submerged, floodwater overtopped portions of the National Highway 37 passing through the park near Haldibari in the day.