Four people killed, one injured in landslides in Guwahati
The state capital was hit by landslides and flash flood triggered by rains, leaving four dead and one injured on Tuesday and prompting the district administration to ask people not to “venture out unless absolutely essential” and seeking the help of the NDRF.
Guwahati mayor Mrigen Sarania told The Telegraph that four construction workers died in a landslide in Boragaon on Monday night. Another person was injured in Kharguli, he said.
One of the deceased was from Kokrajhar district and the others from Dhubri district in lower Assam.
“The four construction workers were buried alive. It has been raining since Monday evening. Till 11am on Tuesday, Guwahati recorded 133mm of rain, about 33mm more than normal,” Sarania said.
Landslides were also reported from Azara, Gandhibasti and Amseng.
The deceased used to live in the hills, which are prone to landslides during heavy rainfall, especially after trees were felled to pave way for construction.
Afforestation to stabilise the vulnerable areas have remained an issue that the administration has not be able to address properly, sources said.
Heavy rainfall since Monday evening inundated many areas and roads, disrupting traffic in the capital city, touted as the gateway to the Northeast by the administration.
It gets waterlogged even after a brief spell of rain mainly because of clogged drains. Overnight incessant heavy rains made the situation worse, a resident of Anil Nagar said.
“It will take some time to drain out the excess water because the rivers within the city are also overflowing. However, we are taking all possible steps to provide relief to the affected,” Sarania said.
Social media was flooded with photos of waterlogged roads and traffic congestion with one Twitter user posting: “Very pathetic situation, people at all levels suffering.”
There were appeals to shut down colleges and schools since the Met office warned of more rains over the next two days.
With no let-up in the intensity of the rain till 11am, the Kamrup Metro district administration issued an urgent advisory.
“In view of incessant rains, citizens are advised not to venture out unless absolutely essential. If your residence is prone to water logging/landslides pls consider shifting to a safer location or please contact district administration at 1077/ 86381 12297.”
The administration also released telephone numbers of four officials “for information on nearest relief camps” among others. Sarania said two camps had been opened for the affected.
The administration also sought the help of the NDRF and the SDRF. “We have deployed a team in Rajgarh to help the affected,” an NDRF official told The Telegraph.
The administration posted pictures of officials visiting the affected area and getting uprooted trees and blocked roads cleared, excavating a temporary drain to divert rainwater to a nearby stream and dewatering pumps at Bharalumukh.
People were also informed about precautionary measures and the need to communicate with the administration in case of any eventuality.
Curbing flash floods and 24X7 drinking water were the key promises made by the ruling BJP and its allies ahead of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation polls held in April. The ruling alliance won 58 of the 60 seats.
Tuesday’s flash flood has once again turned the spotlight on the promise to make the capital city flood-free.
GMC mayor Sarania, who is from the BJP, attributed Tuesday’s flash flood to the “very” heavy rainfall, more than what Guwahati could absorb. “Our poll promise was to ensure rain water is drained out as soon as possible. We are working on that but today’s waterlogging is because of heavy rainfall. Everything remaining equal, we can flush out the water by 9pm.”
Assam has been witnessing flood since May, leading to loss of over 40 lives and snapping of railway connectivity to Barak Valley, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur through Dima Hasao district. Cachar and Hojai are the other two worst-hit districts.