|A man rows to higher ground at Kolakhuwa in Dibrugarh on Friday. Picture by UB Photos
Jorhat, Sept. 21: The flood situation in Upper Assam deteriorated today, with new areas being inundated in all districts and the authorities calling in the army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to rescue marooned people.
More than 80 villages with a population of around 1.8 lakh have been reeling under floods in worst- affected Tinsukia district. Animals, too, have started fleeing the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, spread over Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram told The Telegraph over phone that 60 relief camps had been set up in the district for a population of about 1.8 lakh in 80 villages.
He said 25 relief camps (one camp per village) had been set up in Sadiya sub-division on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, while 35 camps had been opened for 60 villages under Tinsukia and Doomdooma revenue circles on the south bank.
Sundaram said several areas under Amarpur gaon panchayat had been cut off from rest of Sadiya because of rise in water level of the Dibang. Communications between Sadiya and Tinsukia headquarters on the southern side of the Brahmaputra had snapped yesterday.
He said personnel of the 12th Assam Regiment had rescued over 500 people from different areas in Sadiya today and provided them with food and added that relief material were being distributed in the camps on both banks of the river.
In order to supplement food stocks in Sadiya for the next few days, the army has been pressed into service to transport it from Tezu in Lohit district of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.
The deputy commissioner said a consignment comprising 2,500kg dal, 11,000kg rice, 2,000 litres of kerosene and 100kg salt was being brought in by the army today from Tezu and is expected to reach Sadiya tomorrow. The consignment was being brought over road and the army would be using boats while crossing two rivers if the water level was too high to reach Sadiya, he added.
“Moreover, we have kept 300 food packets ready to be air-dropped by helicopter in some areas of Sadiya, especially in Amarpur, if the flood situation worsens, but for that, the weather has to improve,” Sundaram said.
He said two NDRF teams had reached the district today from Guwahati, with another on its way, to be pressed into service if required.
The situation at Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, too, has turned grim, with animals fleeing to higher ground to escape the floodwaters.
The park’s divisional forest officer, V. Mathur, said at least two herds of elephants were currently taking shelter in nearby Dighaltarang and Tara tea estates outside the park.
In the adjoining Dibrugarh district, more than 150 villages spread over four revenue circles have been affected by floods. The worst affected areas are Bogibeel, Lezai Kolakhowa and Rohmoriah.
Floodwaters have also submerged major thoroughfares in Dibrugarh town since last night, with the Brahmaputra flowing above the danger level in the district.
Kunja Devi Dutta, 35, died after she was washed away by floodwaters at Koilaghat Panchali area in Dibrugarh town this afternoon.
In Majuli in Jorhat district, the number of villages submerged by floodwaters has gone up to 77 from three since yesterday, affecting a population of about 60,000.
Majuli sub-divisional officer (civil) Laya Madduri said the situation had turned grim today with floodwaters gushing in and inundating many areas under four panchayats — Luitporia, Ratanpurmiri, Shriram and Ratanpur Gayon — after yesterday’s breach of an embankment at Sonowal Kachari area in upper Majuli.
She said so far there had been no need to open relief camps, as many families from the affected areas had moved to the embankment and set up makeshift camps on their own. The people used tarpaulin, which was distributed during the two earlier waves of flood two months back, to make the camps, she added.
Madduri said relief materials would be distributed from tomorrow, with a boat containing food arriving from Jorhat this evening, adding that a team, comprising nine State Disaster Response Force personnel had been kept on standby to tackle any emergency.
• Districts affected: 13 ( Baksa, Barpeta, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Jorhat, Kamrup, Lakhimpur, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Tinsukia, Udalguri and Sonitpur )
• Villages affected: 817
• Population affected: 4,15,051
• Relief camps: 36
• Inmates in relief camps: 40,611