Assam flood situation worsens again, death toll rises to 89

Villagers row a makeshift raft through a flooded field to reach a safer place at the flood-affected Mayong village in Morigaon district, in the northeastern state of Assam, India on 29 June.
Villagers row a makeshift raft through a flooded field to reach a safer place at the flood-affected Mayong village in Morigaon district, in the northeastern state of Assam, India on 29 June.Reuters

After a marginal improvement earlier this week, the flood situation in Assam again deteriorated on Wednesday while two more persons died in Barpeta and Morigaon districts, taking the death toll to 89, while around 2.6 million people in 26 of the state’s 33 districts continue to be hit.

According to the Forest Department and the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials, at least 120 animals have been killed in floods and 147 rescued even as 90 per cent of the 430 sq km, world-famous Kaziranga National Park, home to more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinoceros, remained inundated.

ASDMA officials said that of the 26.32 lakh people currently affected, over 1.65 million are only in five western districts of Goalpara (468,460), Barpeta (381,522), Morigaon (308,571), Dhubri (278,041) and South Sakmara (216,207).

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They said that the floods—which have inundated the state for over a month now—had claimed 89 lives so far in Kamrup (Metro), Baksa, South Salmara, Darrang, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Bongaigaon, Kamrup, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Morigaon, Dhubri, Nagaon, Nalbari, Barpeta, Dhemaji, Udalguri, Goalpara and Dibrugarh districts, while 26 others were killed in separate landslides since 22 May.

The ASDMA officials said that besides the Brahmaputra, as many as seven more rivers—Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili, Beki, Kushiyara, Sankosh, Dharamtul—are flowing above the danger mark in a large number of places in 12 districts. Over 2,525 villages and 115,515 hectares of crop area in 26 districts have been flooded.

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The district administrations have set up 391 relief camps and distribution centres in 26 districts, where around 45,300 men, women and children have taken shelter.

Of the 26 affected districts, 15 -- Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Morigaon, South Sakmara, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Nagaon, Golaghat, Majuli, Bongaigaon—are the worst-hit.

Besides erosion of river banks at a large number of places, roads, embankments, bridges, culverts and other infrastructure were damaged at many locations in 24 districts, the officials said, adding that hundred of houses were fully or partially damaged due to the floods.

Around 1.4 million domesticated animals and over 800,000 poultry birds were affected. Besides Kaziranga National Park, located on edge of the eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots of Golaghat and Nagaon districts, the Manas, R.G. Orang and Tinsukia national parks, the Pabitora and Tinsukia wildlife sanctuaries were also affected.