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River engulfs Majuli villages

- Fresh inundation after Brahmaputra crosses danger level

Jorhat, Oct. 5: Hardly had Majuli limped back to normalcy after the second wave of floods when the Brahmaputra inundated about 35-40 villages on the river island again today.

Intermittent heavy rainfall for the last five days has resulted in the Brahmaputra crossing the danger level at Nimati here today, showing a rising trend that could inundate more areas on the island.

Readings taken by the Central Water Commission at noon showed that the river was flowing at Nimati at 85.88m, the danger level being 85.04m, and rising. At Dibrugarh it was 105.5m and showed a steady trend, the danger level being 105.7. In neighbouring Sivasagar, the water level was below the danger level by two metres, though it was showing a rising trend.

The Guwahati division of the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted more rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in the next 24 hours.

P. Saikia, a resident of Bongaon, said the Brahmaputra had again entered from the breach made at the Sonowal Kachari area in upper Majuli in the first wave of floods witnessed in June-July, and flooded four panchayats — Ratanpur, Luitporia, Sriram and Therepai.

“Hardly had the waters receded when the people are having to deal with fresh floods. The people are now already habituated with living atop houses built on wooden and bamboo stilts and are conducting all affairs, including cooking and the corralling of livestock, atop these,” Saikia said.

Mitu Khatoniar, another resident of the island, said after the waters had receded recently the horrific sight of dead cattle being eaten up by scavengers met them.

“Hundreds of cattle have lost their lives and crows were seen pecking out the eyes of cows too weak to get up. It was only days later that fodder was provided by the veterinary and animal husbandry department,” he said.

While those in service at least had some source of income, the farmers had lost everything, their fields covered in green scum even today, Khatoniar added.

He was, however, all praise for the civil administration, which for the first time had distributed drinking water packets to the affected all over the island and also made provision for distribution of baby food.

An official of Majuli subdivision said the situation was being monitored closely and relief camps would be set up if necessary.