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Assam floods | 2 more dead, 4.62 lakh affected

The number of flood-affected people across 1,289 villages almost doubled overnight to 4,62,777.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

Two more people drowned on Saturday and more than 4.62 lakh people were displaced as 21 out of Assam’s 33 districts reeled under floods.

There were also reports of landslips in three districts, including Kamrup (Metropolitan), comprising Guwahati and adjoining areas, where people living in landslip-prone areas have been advised to shift to safer places “till the monsoon season is over for their own safety”.

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The Raj Bhavan was among the landslip-affected spots in Guwahati. Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force and other agencies have been deployed after a part of the complex caved in.

There are 18 hills within Guwahati and its outskirts. Many houses constructed on the slopes reportedly do not conform to building guidelines.

“Two people drowned in [western Assam’s] Goalpara district, taking the death toll since May 22 to 39. Of these, 18 were washed away and 21 were killed in landslips,” a spokesperson of the Assam Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said.

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According to the ASDMA’s update, the number of flood-affected people across 1,289 villages almost doubled overnight to 4,62,777 by Saturday evening. Almost 20,000 of them have moved to relief camps in seven districts.

District officials have evacuated 261 people in vulnerable areas as the Brahmaputra and six of its tributaries flowed above the danger mark. The Brahmaputra, in particular, has swollen at several stretches from the eastern to the western parts of Assam.

Dhemaji continued to be the worst-affected district, with 99,116 people affected, followed by Tinsukia, Nalbari, Goalpara and Barpeta, the data showed.

Officials fear the situation could turn worse with the meteorological department predicting heavy rain for the next few days.

OIL operations abandoned

Apart from seven critical embankments having been breached and at least 250 km of road damaged in 17 districts, the floods have either washed away or damaged seven bridges in four districts. These do not include two on as many access roads to the blowout-hit natural gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district.

“All operations at the Baghjan blowout site were called off as the working conditions were considered unsafe. The area is completely inundated and so are the connecting roads, while two bridges were damaged, preventing the movement of men and material,” an OIL spokesperson said.

Kaziranga camps inundated

Floodwaters have entered the Kaziranga National Park, inundating 78 of the 183 anti-poaching camps in the one-horned rhino habitat. Two of the inundated camps have been vacated.

Park officials, however, said the flooding is partial and below the level Kaziranga needs every year to flush out aquatic weeds and other wastes from its numerous streams and wetlands.

“A rhino has died. Rhinos, elephants, deer and other animals have started moving toward the Karbi Anglong hills [across the highway skirting the southern edge of the park], which is the natural route for them during floods,” park director P. Sivakumar told The Hindu.

The park authorities have imposed speed restrictions with time cards on the highway. This is to prevent animals escaping the flooded part from being run over.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 7:29:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-floods-2-more-dead-462-lakh-affected/article31936088.ece

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