Fresh Assam floods kill 5, affect 11 lakh people

The flood situation in Assam worsened on Saturday, affecting over 11 lakh people in 19 districts, with official reports saying five people had died during the day. The disaster spot is some 220 km from the state capital.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked over phone with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and inquired about the scale of devastation caused by the current wave of floods in the state. The first round of floods had claimed 90 lives last month. The death toll has risen to 89.

In an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Assam government asked the Army to get involved in rescue and relief operations and put Indian Air Force choppers on standby. 21 of 33 districts that have been hit by flood.

A top official of Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said the water level of the tributaries of Brahmaputra river and Barak river also flowing above danger level marks in various places in Upper Assam, Middle Assam, Northern Assam, Lower Assam and Barak valley. The water level In Brahmaputra and several other rivers are still rising, hitting train services.

Currently, 2,734 villages are under water and over 1.35 lakh hectares of crop areas have been damaged across the state, the ASDMA said. Flood water also inundated new areas in Darrang district.

National Highway 31, one of the roads that link the Northeast India with the rest of the country was down on Saturday as floodwaters flowed over a part of the road in Bengal's Cooch Behar district. As a result, a number of trains had to be stopped at various stations and a number of other trains had to be cancelled or rescheduled/ short-terminated.

Railway authorities cancelled 20 trains on Sunday causing distress to thousands of passengers.

The flood situation in Assam has worsened in the last 24 hours.

Chief Minister also visited Aithan Ring Bund at Bogibeel, Dibrugarh and took stock of the condition of the flood affected people. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, was not convinced with the efforts of the Left Front government. Almost 1.50 lakh are now in over 600 relief camps. Rivers in Tripura are also swarming, leading to water logging situation.

Party spokesperson Ashok Sinha said, "We have provided three helpline numbers for assistance to marooned people".

The monsoon rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh is creating havoc across the state with reports of floods and road blockades coming in from various parts of the state.

Vanessa Coleman

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