Tinsukia/Dibrugarh, Aug. 12: Five more people have died in the fresh wave of floods in Assam, caused by incessant rainfall over the past week, taking the deluge-related toll in the state to 89 this year. The fresh wave has affected nearly 11 lakh people in 19 districts.
A report issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said two persons died in Dhemaji and one each in Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar and Morigaon districts in the past 24 hours. The flood situation is likely to turn worse as nine rivers, including the Brahmaputra, are flowing above the danger level in different places.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited the flood-affected areas in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts of Upper Assam today.
The Brahmaputra, which was flowing near its record level of 106.48m in Dibrugarh yesterday, was flowing at 105.85m this evening. About 57,419 people in 87 villages have been affected and 3,525.892 hectares of cropland damaged by floods in the district. Nearly 1,300 people have been rescued by State Disaster Response Force teams so far. Eighteen relief camps have been opened at Chabua, Dibrugarh East and Dibrugarh West circles, where 3,610 people are taking shelter.
Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Laya Madduri said, "We have set up 13 medical camps in different areas. So far, 307 quintals of rice, 56 quintals of pulses and other items have been distributed to the flood-affected people."
Altogether 62,000 packets of drinking water and 48,000 water-purifying tablets have been distributed by the district public health and engineering department.
According to the flood bulletin released by the Dibrugarh administration, erosion has been reported on the bank of the Buridehing at Pandhowa ghat in Tengakhat revenue circle. Two embankments, Bogibeel ring bund and Goalopatty ring bund, under Dibrugarh West circle have been damaged.
In Tinsukia district, too most of the rivers are also flowing above the danger level. Official reports said 29,601 people in 61 villages have been affected by the fresh wave of floods but sources said more than 50,000 people have been affected. Eleven relief camps, sheltering 1,487 people, have been opened in the district.
In Tezpur, the headquarters of Sonitpur district, more than 10 villages near Koliabhomora bridge were inundated and three shops were washed away by the rising waters of the Brahmaputra this evening. The river is flowing above the danger level at Ganesh ghat in the town.
National Highway 31, the only road link to the Northeast, other than NH 31D, with the country, was closed to traffic today as floodwaters flowed over a part of the road in Bengal's Cooch Behar district.
Sonowal, after visiting the flood-affected areas, said, "If we need to protect the people from floods, we need strong dykes. Our government has undertaken the work of strengthening and fortifying the existing 5,000km-long embankments and converting them into road-cum-dykes, which will not only help to improve connectivity in rural areas but also address the flood fury."
Taking a jibe at the Congress, he said, "They did not take care of the embankments which have been lying in a bad shape for decades. Despite its long rule, the Congress government was never serious about the flood problem, and lakhs of people suffered every year."
He said strict instructions have been issued to the deputy commissioners of all the flood-hit districts to ensure that there is no delay in rescue and relief operations. "Once the floodwaters recede, we shall take up the rehabilitation of flood-affected people," he said.
During his visit to Tinsukia district, Sonowal interacted with people at the Dhelaghat LP School relief camp. The inmates complained that poor quality of food was being supplied to them.
In neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh's Namsai district, floodwaters breached 25m of the 2km dyke along the Noa Dehing at New Silatoo last night.
Namsai deputy commissioner R.K. Sharma said, "The overall flood situation has improved but a portion of the dyke along the Noa Dehing has been breached at New Silatoo. Work to restore the breach has been taken up on a war footing. Three families have been shifted from Silatoo Khamti village."