Sept. 23: Three children drowned and one went missing in Assam’s Tinsukia district and two girls were feared drowned in Sonitpur district today as several areas at Pandu in Guwahati were inundated by the Brahmaputra.
With the latest deaths, the toll in this wave of floods has gone up to six, with two youths drowning at Dhola in Tinsukia district on Thursday and a woman washed away by floodwater in the Koilaghat Panchali area in Dibrugarh town on Friday.
Though the water level of Brahmaputra and its tributaries has started showing a receding trend, the floods continued to pose challenges in several parts of the state.
The Brahmaputra today inundated some areas at Pandu, forcing many to leave their houses and take shelter in schools and temporary camps. Locals said water entered the Pandu temple gate, Tinipukhuri, station colony and other areas situated close to the river, affecting around 2,000 residents.
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the Brahmaputra has crossed the danger mark in Guwahati and has flooded many areas under Azara and Guwahati revenue circle.
The Kamrup (metro) district administration has started providing shelter to the affected people.
In Upper Assam, Majuli continues to bear the brunt of the second wave of floods this year with more than 80 per cent of the island, including the office of the sub-divisional officer and the circuit house, still under water.
The island administration is also preparing to evacuate the sub-divisional jail, as its premises, too, has been flooded.
“Water has already entered the jail premises and the level is rising. We may have to shift the 41 inmates,” a sub-divisional administration official said.
With 18 out of the total 20 gaon panchayats under floodwater, the Majuli administration is preparing for “bad days ahead” as there is no outlet for floodwater to flow out of the island.
“Even if water level in the Brahmaputra subsides, it would take at least a fortnight for the water to recede from the island,” Jorhat deputy commissioner R.C. Jain told The Telegraph today.
He said given the number of flood control and anti-erosion measures taken up in and around Majuli in the past 10 years, floodwater remained inland for days because sealing off the embankments also meant blocking all outlets.
The Bramaputra had breached the embankment at Sonowar-Kachari a few days back for the second time this year, inundating vast areas on the island.
In the worst-affected Tinsukia district, three children — Anita Praja, Jintu Praja and Papu Praja — drowned and a fourth went missing when they fell from a boat being used by district administration officials to supervise relief measures near a camp at Hatibat near Barekuri under Doomdooma revenue circle this afternoon.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sunduram said a district administration official had gone to the relief camp to supervise relief measures this afternoon. “The boat was anchored near the relief camp and four children were playing on it when it capsized, resulting in the incident. While three bodies have been recovered, a search is on for the fourth,” he said.
The carcasses of two elephant calves were also recovered today from the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, vast areas of which have been inundated. A large number of animals, mainly elephants, are taking shelter in nearby tea estates. The carcasses were recovered from Balijan inside the park’s core area.
Sunduram said National Disaster Response Force personnel had rescued more than 1,000 villagers marooned in different parts of the worst-hit Sadiya sub-division today. The sub-division was totally cut off since the past three days, with bad weather conditions and strong water currents hampering rescue operations.
The official said as the weather had improved slightly today, helicopters had been pressed into service to provide relief material to people who are still stuck in various parts of the district. “Helicopters have made at least three sorties today and air dropped food material to flood affected villagers.”
Vast areas of Kaziranga National Park are also under water. The carcass of an elephant — claimed to be the first victim of the second wave of floods — was recovered from Deosur under the Bagori range of the park today.
Though the flood situation improved in Dibrugarh following a decrease in water level of the Brahmaputra, more than 100 villages are still under water in Loura mouza under Dibrugarh west revenue circle.
Persistent rain in Arunachal Pradesh over the past fortnight has led to floods in Dhemaji and Sonitpur districts.
Two girls — Taslima Khatun, 7, and Atima Khatun, 14 — were feared drowned at Adabheti in Biswanath Chariali after the army boat they were being rescued in capsized this evening.
An airfield at Pashighat in Arunachal Pradesh was also inundated today.