GUWAHATI: With one more death, the toll in Assam flood rose to 85 even as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) warned of heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the Northeast in the next two days.
The latest death was reported from Kamrup (Metro) district which took the toll to 85. Combined with 26 deaths in the rain-triggered landslides earlier, 111 people died so far.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), over 24.3 lakh people from 2,254 villages across 24 of the state’s 33 districts have still remained affected. Standing crop affected was in areas of over 1.09 lakh hectares. Altogether 48,197 people were lodged in 468 relief camps in 18 districts, the ASDMA said.
Major rivers such as Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Kopili, Beki, Kushiyara and Jia Bharali were in a spate, flowing above the danger level.
At the one-horned rhino fame Kaziranga National Park, 113 animals, including 11 rhinos, perished so far due to various reasons including drowning and vehicle hits. The incidents of vehicle hits occurred on a national highway that traverses beside the park.
Even as the state has been witnessing moderate to very heavy rainfall at isolated places for the past two days, the IMD prediction does not look good for the state.
“The monsoon trough at mean sea level passes through Amritsar, Ludhiana, Meerut, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Bhagalpur and eastern end lies close to the foothills of the Himalayas. In addition, convergence of moist southerly/south-westerly winds from the Bay of Bengal over the Northeast is taking place at lower tropospheric levels…
“Due to these favourable meteorological conditions, widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls is very likely over the Northeast during July 20-22, isolated extremely heavy falls also very likely over Assam and Meghalaya during July 20-21 and over Arunachal Pradesh on July 20,” scientist Sunit Das of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Guwahati, told this newspaper.
After taking stock of the situation in Barpeta district on Monday, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said flood and erosion had been causing devastation for a long time. According to him, Assam loses 9,000 hectares of land due to erosion every year.
He informed that the Centre would take up the issue of flood with Bhutan from where floodwaters come down every year to wreak havoc in Assam. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constituted a national committee which recommended the setting up of North East Water Management Authority under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog Vice Chairman to permanently solve the issues of flood and erosion in Assam, he added.