Other States

Floods displace 2.52 lakh people in 16 districts in Assam

Villagers travel on a country boats with their luggage to move to safer areas through floodwaters in Morigaon district of Assam on June 26, 2020.

Villagers travel on a country boats with their luggage to move to safer areas through floodwaters in Morigaon district of Assam on June 26, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

16 have died so far; operations to cap OIL’s well affected due to rain

Floods in Assam have claimed one more life, the 16th since May 22, as the rising water level displaced more than 2.52 lakh people across 16 districts on Friday.

Incessant heavy rainfall for almost a week has also hit the operations to cap the well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district that blew out on May 27.

Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said a person drowned in Tengakhat area of Dibrugarh early on Friday morning, taking the death toll to 37 — 16 by drowning and 21 in landslides.

“The number of flood-hit districts almost doubled from nine to 16 overnight. So far, 2,52,661 people have been displaced and 18,234 of them have taken refuge in relief camps across five districts,” an ASDMA spokesperson said. Social distancing was being maintained in these camps due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Dhemaji continued to be the worst affected district, followed by Tinsukia, Majuli and Dibrugarh. The other flood-hit districts are Baksa, Barpeta, Biswanath, Darrang, Golaghat, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar and Udalguri.

Eight rivers, including the Brahmaputra, have been flowing above the danger level, threatening to inundate more areas, officials said.

“Crops on 11,765.27 hectares across 704 villages have been affected. More than 1.62 lakh livestock and fowls have been affected too,” the spokesperson said.

Heavy rainfall also caused landslide in Guwahati. Two persons were injured after two houses collapsed in the city’s Kahilipara area.

In Tinsukia’s Baghjan area, where one of OIL’s wells had a blowout — uncontrolled escape of natural gas at great speed — on May 27 and burst into flames later, operations for capping it had to be virtually abandoned. “A large part of the area is inundated and the levels of all the rivers are rising. While a bridge on one of the access roads collapsed on June 24, the condition of another bridge on an alternative road is deteriorating,” an OIL spokesperson said.

“We are in touch with the Army for constructing a Bailey bridge for transporting men and material to and from the Baghjan site,” he added.

Heavy rainfall has affected the survey for assessing the damage to compensate the people affected by the blowout, Tinsukia district officials said. Assessment of 530 families has been completed so far.

The conditions, however, did not deter some local groups from obstructing OIL’s operations elsewhere in eastern Assam. OIL said that it has since May 27 suffered production losses due to local shutdowns and blockades.

“The cumulative loss has been 8,570 metric tonnes of crude oil and 10.99 million metric standard cubic metres of natural gas,” the spokesperson said.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 5:05:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/floods-displace-252-lakh-people-in-16-districts-in-assam/article31928625.ece

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