Fresh Rains in Garo Hills Add to Woes; Death Toll Crosses 90
Assam and Meghalaya are battling with one of the worst floods
NEW DELHI: The devastating floods in the north-east states of Meghalaya and Assam have already taken the lives of at least 90 people with scores of people still missing. While 52 deaths have been reported in Meghalaya, the death toll in the neighbouring Assam has touched 39.
Just when the waters were receding and the flood-ravaged districts were limping back to normalcy, a day-long torrential rains in the Garo Hills in Meghalaya provoked fresh rounds of landslides and panic in not only its own state but also in the adjoining state of Assam.
The flash floods and landslides, triggered by heavy rains has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes, left numerous marooned and has affected more than eight lakh people.
The Army, NDRF and SDRF,who were continuously working on rescue mission have now shifted its operations to relief.
The NDRF Chief told the PTI that the worst affected areas are the districts of Goalpara, Kamrup (rural) and Boko in Assam along with some adjoining areas whereas in Meghalaya, the areas of Tura and seven districts in Garo Hills area were hit the most by the tragedy.
"There has been massive destruction in these areas due to flood waters," Singh was quoted as saying.
The NDRF is operating 16 teams in the two states and has rescued close to 6,000 people and distributed 80 quintals of food and other essential items to the people who are marooned.
Further, he stated that the force has undertaken night operations as well and such tasks are continuing.
Kiren Rijiju, the Union minister of state for home affairs made aerial surveys in the flood-hit Assam and Meghalaya and promised central help for the two states .
Informing that he would hold a meeting with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, he said that Singh would visit the two states on October 1 to take stock of the situation.
Further, he added “Whatever is necessary in this natural calamity of Assam and Meghalaya will be done and they will get adequate financial and material support from the central government. We will work as partners”.
Both the states are on high alert, particularly after fresh rounds of heavy rains and landslides, even though the water level of all the rivers and rivulets are receding.
Officials said that the rehabilitation of the affected people would take several months as gushing water from the Garo hills has completely damaged houses in Assam.
The flood bulletin of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said that a total of 1,38,540 people were taking shelter in 18 relief camps in seven districts. Altogether 8,15,620 people have been affected by floods in 715 villages in 11 districts, it added.
In the West Garo Hills, over 1,50,000 people have been affected, spread over 200 villages. “We have submitted an interim report to the government, specifying damage to infrastructure at Rs 312 crore, said West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi.
While the power supply has been restored in most places in Meghalaya barring Baghmara,water supply is a little problem as it remains disrupted but alternative arrangements are being made through water tankers and other temporary measures to supply water.
Stock of medicines and medical personnel are also adequate and there has been no report of any outbreak of epidemics yet.
Assam, on the other hand, is struggling hard as thousands are forced to live in relief camps and highways and roads.
While Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam visited the flood-ravaged Goalpara district in lower Assam (the worst-hit region), there were accusations that officials had spruced up camps and stacked them with supplies only to show the chief minister.
The condition of the camps at Balijana Girls’ School, Kalyanpur High School and Bhalukdubi Garo Primary School, where the chief minister visited, apparently changed overnight.
Anger and resentment prevailed in other camps as Gogoi did not visit them. Many flood victims were seen shouting slogans against the chief minister and the administration.
According to a press communiqué issued by the chief minister’s office, Gogoi had visited camps, including at Bolbola, where a large number of flood victims are taking shelter. Gogoi, after visiting the relief camps, held meetings with the district administration and other agencies involved in flood relief.
NH-37 is reported to be open for light and heavy vehicles late on Sunday, while NH-62 which connects Assam and Meghalaya is open for light vehicles only.
Another national highway connecting the two states, NH-51, still continues to remain closed.