Floods, landslides wreak havoc in India's NE

Villagers wade through a flooded road after rain at a village in Nagaon District, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Photo: PTI

Shillong: Roads were blocked, bridges washed away, mobile connectivity snapped and power supply disrupted as flash floods and landslides wreaked havoc in Meghalaya's South Garo Hills district, affecting around 40,000 people, officials said on Tuesday.

The district, which borders Bangladesh, is cut-off for the last four days with the arterial National Highway-62 affected in several places, they said.

The district witnessed multiple landslides over the past few days amid incessant rainfalls. At least six bridges, including suspension and wooden bridges, have been washed away, they said.

Mobile connectivity has also been affected in the district, snapping communication. Power supply has been disrupted in Baghmara town, Karukol, Rongsa Awe, Siju, Rongara, Gasuapara and Chokpot, among others.

So far, eight people have been killed in landslides in Bolsalgre, Siju and Rongsa Awe. Two people are still missing from Rongsa Awe, officials said.

Among the deceased is a four-year-old child, they said.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said he will travel to the affected areas on Wednesday to meet the families who lost their kin.

Sangma has to take a boat and then trek at least 6 km to reach Siju and Rongsa Awe, officials said.

The families who lost their members would be given Rs 4 lakh each during the visit of the chief minister, they said.

NDRF was rushed to Cachar in Barak Valley of Assam for rescue operations as the flood situation in Assam remained critical on Tuesday with  Brahmaputra and Barak rivers along with its tributaries in spate and affecting nearly 48 lakh people, officials said.

The devastating flood, triggered by incessant rains since last week, has inundated 32 out of 36 districts of the state in its second spell and 11 persons were reported missing during the last 24 hours, the officials said.

A total 44 people have lost their lives so far in floods and lanslides in the state since June 14.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that four units of the National Disaster Response Force were rushed from Bhubaneswar to Silchar to carry out rescue operations as the flood situation in Karimganj and Cachar districts worsened due to the rising waters of Barak and Kushiyara rivers following heavy rains.

''Four units of NDRF from Bhubaneswar with total 105 personnel have been sent to Silchar to carry out rescue operations in Barak Valley'', he said and thanked Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the ''prompt action and help".

In Cachar, a population of  2,07,143 in 449 villages have been affected, while in Karimganj  1,33,865 in 305 villages were hit by the flood, according to the bulletin issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).

A total crop area of 113485.37 hectares and 33,84,326 animals have been affected while 5232 animals have been swept away in the state, it said.

The calamity has affected 125 revenue circles and 5,424 villages across Assam forcing 2,31,819 people to take shelter in 810 relief camps. At least 11,292 people and 27,086 animals have been evacuated by agencies engaged in rescue operations in the past 24 hours.

Relief materials were distributed to the affected people who have not taken shelters in relief camps through 615 temporary relief distribution centres and points opened by the government.

Among the worst affected districts Barpeta with a population of 12,30,721 is reeling under flood waters followed by Darrang where 4,69,241people have been hit and Bajali where 3,38515 have been affected, according to the bulletin issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).

According to the bulletin of the Central Water Commission (CWC), Kopili river is flowing above its high flood level at Kampur in Nagaon district and Brahmaputra at Nimatighat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Kamrup, Goalpara and Dhubri. Puthimari, Pagladia, Beki  Barak and Kushiara are flowing above the danger levels.

Urban flooding was reported from Barpeta, Cachar, Darrang, Goalpara, Kamrup (Metro) and Karimganj. Landslides occurred at Kamrup and Karimganj during the day, it said.

Two embankments were breached, 349 roads and 16 bridges were damaged on Monday, the CWC said.

Large-scale erosion of river banks was reported from Baksa, Biswanath, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Dhubri, Hailakandi, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Nalbari, Sonitpur, South Salmara, Tamulpur, Tinsukia and Udalguri districts, it added.

In Kaziranga National Park 42 of the total 233 camps have been inundated by the flood water. Eight animals have died due to drowning and vehicle hit so far, while 12, including nine hog deers and three pythons have been rescued by forest officials.

In Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, 14 of the total 25 camps have been inundated though there are no reports of animal casualty so far, officials said.

Northeast Frontier Railways has cancelled, short terminated or diverted several trains following damages in railway tracks due to flood-induced breaches at Chaparmukh Kampur and Chaparmukh - Senchoa sections of Lumding and Harisinga - Tangla section of Rangiya divisions in the state on Tuesday, NFR official said.

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