The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Floods threaten to sink Majuli satras

Sept. 9: A woman and her two daughters were washed away by the swirling waters of the Barapani river in Nagaon. Her husband watched helplessly as the three sank into a watery grave.

Floods claimed seven lives since last night as Assam continues to wallow in a sea of misery today as the Brahmaputra threatens to devour two satras in Majuli.

The satras have come under threat as gushing waters of the Brahmaputra threatened to breach the embankment at Sumoimari. An official of the subdivision said Bhugpur and Benganawati satras would have been swept away had there been a breach in the embankment.

He said the administration had invoked prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC on the Kamalabari-Bongaon stretch banning movement of heavy vehicles.

Nearly 300 families from Na Sonowal, Kaniajan and Dhakinpat Kumargaon villages have been shifted to highlands as flood waters inundated vast swathes of land.

Kampur circle officer Deepa Das said the countryboat in which 40-year-old Rofiqul Islam was crossing the Barapani with his wife Khatun Begum, 28, and daughters Rahima, 4 and seven-month-old Aklima, capsized last night.

While Islam survived, his wife tried to save their children but in vain. Islam is a resident of Ali Tangini village under Kuchuwa police station in Mampur.

Eight-year-old Chamela Khatun was washed away while playing on the banks of the Kopili river last night while a body was fished out near Bebejia this evening.

Das said the Barapani and Kopili rivers are in spate.

The toll in the Nagaon district went up to five while two more deaths were reported from Cachar district where the army’s 57 Mountain Division has been deployed to rescue the marooned in Katigorah and Sonai.

Cachar deputy commissioner Goutam Ganguli today said the water level of the Barak, the second largest river in the Northeast, was rising by six cm an hour on an average and feared that it would possibly “break all previous records”.

The previous record was in 1989 when the Barak flowed at 21.84 metres. It crossed the danger mark two days back and flowed at 21.40 metres tonight.

The Central Water Commission said the Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger level in Dibrugarh, Neematighat, Tezpur, Goalpara, Dhubri, Khowang, Golaghat, Numlaigarh, Kampur, Dharmatul and Karimganj.

The rivers Subansiri, Dhansiri, Jiabharali, Kopili, Gumti, Desang and the Puthimari are also in spate.

At Kaziranga National Park, rhinos and other wildlife were sighted shifting to the highlands in the hills of Karbi Anglong as 60 per cent of the park is under water.

Heavy rain has triggered landslides at Langlai in the North Cachar Hills.

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