7:19 am - Sunday January 20, 2019

Assam floods claim eight lives; 11 NDRF teams deployed for relief operations

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Altogether eight people have died in heavy floods and landslides triggered by continuous rain for the last three days in Assam, where airforce helicopters, army, NDRF and SDRF have been pressed into service for rescue work, officials said.

The situation was the worst in Goalpara where five people have died and more than 50,000 people have been affected due to heavy rains in the state and neighbouring Meghalaya, District Deputy Commissioner Pritam Saikia told PTI. With rains halting today, rescue and relief operation are on and airforce helicopters have been pressed into service to rescue the marooned people in Dudhnoi, Krishnai and Bolbola. Army, NDRF and SDRF are also engaged round-the-clock for rescue work. However, majority of the people have come down on their own to the plains, he said.

The district administration has made arrangements to provide shelter and necessary relief materials to the affected, Saikia said. The situation in Guwahati, where two persons have died – one in landslide and another due to electrocution following heavy precipitation in the past three days, was also improving as rains stopped since this morning.

The city recorded 162.56 mm of rainfall since last night and the severely affected areas of Anil Nagar, Tarun Nagar, Zoo Road and other areas remain waterlogged, Kamrup (Metro) district administration spokesman said. About 300 people have been evacuated from Anil Nagar and housed in relief camps opened by Kamrup metropolitan district administration, which has also made arrangements for distribution of drinking water, candles, biscuits and other items to the affected people.

Ten boats have been pressed into service to provide relief and rescue people from Anilnagar, Nabinnagar, Lachitnagar, besides Rajgarh and Zoo Road in the heart of the city, the district administration officials said. The situation in Dhubri district, bordering Bangladesh, was grim with water level of Brahmaputra river showing an upward trend.

People are being moved to safer places, Deputy Commissioner Kumud Kalita said. One child was killed and three others were injured in landslides at Hatisinghmari area of the district, officials said. The rains have severely affected electric supply and telephone services in both Goalpara and Dhubri districts.

Train services in central Assam’s Morigaon district were also affected as rain water submerged rail tracks between Jagiroad and Dharamtul stations, Northeast Frontier Railway spokesman said. All up and down trains passing through the area have been regulated. The Ledo-Guwahati Intercity Express and Silghat-Kamakhya Express have been stopped at Jagiroad and Chaparmukh stations respectively, he added.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held an emergency meeting with senior officials during the day to take stock of the flood situation in some parts of the state and directed the concerned authorities to take all-out measures to deal with the situation, CMO officials said. The chief minister, who is monitoring the situation, had already directed the State Disaster Management Authority to press into service SDRF personnel to evacuate the marooned people.

It was also decided in the meeting that SDRF personnel must be stationed permanently in the flood prone areas and two additional SDRF companies would be raised.

NDRF and SDRF personnel are already operating in Goalpara, Dudhnoi and other places to evacuate the marooned people. SDRF personnel from Sonitpur and North Lakhimpur have also moved to affected areas.

In the flood prone areas of upper Assam, the water level in the river was below the danger level in most of the places and there are no reports of any breach in embankments maintained by water resources department.

11 NDRF teams comprising over 550 personnel have been deployed for carrying out relief and rescue operations in the flood-affected areas of Assam. “We have deployed 11 teams in the state while two each are being airlifted from Patna and Odisha today. That makes a total of 15 of our teams for relief and rescue duties in Assam,” National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief O P Singh told PTI here. He said that the teams are carrying boats and other equipment.

Each NDRF team has a strength of over 50 personnel. Following demands of the state authorities, 11 rescue and relief teams of NDRF are deployed at Boko, Goalpara, Guwahati, Sonitpur, North Lakhimpur, Tinsukia and Dhemaji in Assam while two teams have been sent to Tura and West Garo Hills in Meghalaya, he said.

“So far, NDRF teams have evacuated more than 910 marooned people to safer place,” an official statement said. Torrential rains for the last couple of days in north eastern parts of the country have resulted in flooding in several districts of Assam and Meghalaya even as heavy rains in these parts have wreaked havoc triggering flash floods in several districts of thh two states, killing ten people and leaving scores homeless.

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