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Over 50 dead as floods, landslides disrupt life in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with water resources minister Keshav Mahanta and other senior officials on Sunday to take stock of the flood situation in the state.

Updated: Jul 12, 2020 21:48 IST

By Utpal Parashar | Edited by Anubha Rohatgi, Hindustan Times Guwahati

A disaster relief force personnel wearing protective gear rescues a stranded family in Assam’s Barpeta district on Sunday, July 12, 2020. (Photo Credit: Assam State Disaster Management Authority)

Normal life has been disrupted in several parts of Assam and neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh due to floods and landslides caused by heavy rainfall in the past few days.

According to a report issued by Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) on Sunday, nearly 13 lakh people in 24 of the state’s 31 districts have been affected by floods. A total of 44 people have lost their lives due to floods till now.

Around 21,000 persons uprooted by floods have been taking shelter in 224 relief camps set up in 16 of the affected districts. Over 82,500 hectares of crop area was also submerged under flood waters in the affected districts.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with water resources minister Keshav Mahanta and other senior officials on Sunday to take stock of the flood situation in the state.



The CM directed ministers, MPs and MLAs to reach out to the flood-affected people in their respective areas and ensure adequate and timely relief. He instructed officials to repair damaged embankments on a war-footing.

According to a weather forecast issued by India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday, heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected from July 12 to July 16 in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and other states in the region. Thunderstorm accompanied with lightning is also predicted for several places.

According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), several rivers in Assam including Brahmaputra, Puthimari, Kopili, Jia Bharali, Pagladiya, Buridihing, Sankosh, Dhansiri and Siang in Arunachal Pradesh were flowing above the danger level on Sunday morning.

Nearly 80% area of the Kaziranga national park and tiger reserve in Assam spread over 430 sq km has been inundated with flood waters, according to a report issued on Sunday morning. Flood waters have inundated 125 of the 223 camps inside the park used for forest personnel.

A total of 41 animals in the park, the biggest habitat of one-horned rhinos, have died during this monsoon including 9 deaths due to drowning and 8 due to vehicle hits while trying to cross the nearby national highway to move to higher locations in Karbi Anglong district.

Flooding has also affected efforts to control the fire at Oil India Limited’s (OIL) natural gas well at Baghjan in Tinsukia district. The gas well had caught fire on June 9, a fortnight after a blow out, and claimed the lives of two firefighters.

“Severe flood conditions in the Baghjan area continue to halt operations at the site. The approach road to site, equipment staging area and debris lay down area are still submerged in flood water. People of the relief camp from Guijan high school have been shifted to a government building,” said an OIL release on Sunday.

In neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, heavy rainfall has led to landslides, damage to roads and loss of lives. On Friday, eight people were killed in two separate landslides close to the state capital Itanagar in Papumpare district.

“Besides the deaths, there has been damage to roads due to rain and landslides. Two relief camps have been set up in Itanagar in two schools,” said Yalik Jerang, information officer of Papumpare district.

Water level of Siang river has been flowing over the danger mark near Pasighat since Friday and East Siang district authorities have alerted people residing near the riverbank and low lying areas to be on maximum alert.

Flooding has also been reported from several places in Changlang and Namsai districts. According to a report in Arunachal Times, an important bridge over the Dibang river in Lower Dibang Valley district is also under threat due to rising water level in the river.

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