Assam floods kill 17, submerge 90 per cent of Kaziranga National Park

Updated: Jul 17, 2019, 10:47 IST | PTI

Also, according to an official release, the two-day Indo-Bangladesh stakeholders meeting scheduled from July 19 has been postponed and the dates for the next meeting will be announced later

Assam floods kill 17, submerge 90 per cent of Kaziranga National Park
Rhinoceros move to an elevated area due to floods in Kaziranga National Park on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

Guwahati: The flood situation in Assam turned critical on Tuesday with all 33 districts of the state coming under the grip of the deluge, which has so far claimed 17 lives and affected over 45 lakh people, officials said Tuesday. According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries are flowing above the danger level in most of the affected districts, including in Guwahati. More than 45 lakh people have been affected in 4,620 villages of the state, with 1,01,085 people taking refuge in 226 relief camps.

As many as 562 distribution centres have been set up for providing relief to the affected people, it said. With two persons dying due to landslides triggered by heavy rains, the toll in the current wave of flood has risen to 17, officials said, adding the Army is helping in rescue operations and the BSF has also been called out for assistance in the border districts. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams are working round the clock in the flood affected areas, they said. In Guwahati, waters of the Brahmaputra river has submerged Uzanbazar, Kharguli and Bharalamukh areas while the situation in Kaziranga and Manas National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has turned critical as vast stretches of land has been inundated and animals are moving towards higher lands. Forest and police personnel are maintaining a strict vigil to ensure safety of animals.

Traffic has been restricted along the nearby national highways to allow safe movement of animals, according to an official report. ASDMA said the Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger level at Jorhat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri along with Burhidehing at Khowang in Dibrugarh. Also flowing above their danger marks are Subansiri river at Badatighat in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri river at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali river at Sonitpur and Kopili river at Kampur and Dharamtul in Nagaon. The Puthimari river is flowing above the danger mark at Kamrup, Beki river at Barpeta, Barak river at Cachar and Badarpur river and Katakhal river at Hailakandi, it said. The Centre has released Rs 251.55 crore to the State Disaster Response Fund for for 2019-20. State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a tweet, thanked the prime minister, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the "prompt release (of the grant-in-aid)" which, he said, "shall immensely help in relief operations and mitigating sufferings of the flood-affected people".

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat made an aerial survey of Dibrugarh and Majuli island -- the world's largest river island -- to review the situation with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananada Sonowal and members of his cabinet. Appreciating the efforts of the state government in flood mitigating, Shekhawat told reporters, "The Centre is behind the state government and all efforts are being made to provide relief to the people." The Union minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation with Sonowal on Monday and he was sent to take stock of the flood situation in the state. After the state sends it loss assessment report, the Centre will send a verification team for further release of funds, Shekhawat said. Assam Assembly Speaker H N Goswami said that due to the critical flood situation, the House session, which was scheduled to begin from July 18, has been postponed to July 26. Also, according to an official release, the two-day Indo-Bangladesh stakeholders meeting scheduled from July 19 has been postponed and the dates for the next meeting will be announced later.

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