Nearly two lakh people in Assam have been affected by the first wave of floods in the state even as the situation worsened on Tuesday, The Assam Tribune reported. More than 220 villages in seven districts have been inundated and about 9,000 people have been shifted to relief camps.
The State Disaster Management Authority said 1.94 lakh people in the districts of Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Goalpara, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia were affected. A total of 35 relief camps and relief distribution centres were opened and 8,971 people put into the camps as of Tuesday.
A red alert was sounded on Wednesday predicting very heavy rainfalls in the districts of Kokrajhar, Kokrajhar, Chirang and Baksa. The Jia Bharali river in Sonitpur district and Brahmaputra at Nimatighat in Jorhat were flowing above the danger level.
The Central Water Commission on Tuesday sounded a flood alert for the Brahmaputra river for Neamati Ghat, Jia Bharali in Jorhat and Sonitpur districts in Assam. The floods, which are the first of the season, fuelled concerns of loss of life and property as the floodwaters continue to rise in the region. They also come at a time when the country is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain it.
A Covid-19 screening and quarantine centre at Assam’s border with West Bengal was damaged on Tuesday as heavy rainfall, accompanied by a thunderstorm, battered the area, according to NDTV. The centre was located at Chagolia in Dhubri district of Assam bordering Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. At least 10 people in the quarantine centre sustained injuries and were hospitalised. All of them have now been discharged and shifted to another quarantine centre.
Meanwhile, the Assam Cabinet on Tuesday held a meeting to review the situation in the state. The Cabinet decided that since each minister has been entrusted with specific districts and regions to oversee preparations to tackle coronavirus outbreak, they will now also oversee preparations for floods in the assigned areas.
All districts have been asked to keep the flood relief camps and other necessary equipment ready. The district authorities were directed to ensure all norms of physical distancing are adhered to inside the relief camps. Last week, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority has issued revised set of guidelines for the management of relief camps, in view of the pandemic situation. The state government also asked all deputy commissioners to undertake repair work of embankments.
Floods impact Assam annually affecting major portions of the states claiming hundreds of lives and force thousands of people from their homes. Last year, in one of the worst reported floods in the decade, all 33 districts of the state were affected.
Parts of Assam and Meghalaya have been receiving extremely heavy rainfall since May 20, after super cyclone Amphan weakened. The India Meteorological Department has also warned of extremely heavy rainfall in Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh in the coming days.
The weather body has sounded a red alert for Assam and Meghalaya from May 26 to May 28, according to The Indian Express. Sathi Devi, head of IMD’s national weather forecasting centre, said there is a strong flow of south-westerly winds from the Bay of Bengal, bringing a lot of moisture to these two states. “This is aided by orographic factors that will bring very heavy rainfall,” she added.
Meanwhile, incessant rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh triggered a landslide at the Arzoo village in Dibang Valley district. Three members of a family were killed in the incident. Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to next of kin of the deceased persons, Hindustan Times reported.