Assam flood crisis worsens, death toll at 24

Guwahati/Shillong, June 29 (IANS): Even as Assam is fighting an all-out war against COVID-19, the deteriorating flood situation, triggered by heavy rains, claimed four more lives taking the death toll to 24 while affecting over 13 lakh people in 25 of the state's 33 districts, officials said in Guwahati on Monday.

Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that in the current wave of floods since early last week, nine persons have so far died in Barpeta, Dhemaji, Udalguri, Goalpara and Dibrugarh districts taking the total death toll to 24 in the floods and 23 more people were killed in separate landslides since May 22.

According to the officials of various authorities, there have been incessant heavy monsoon showers across the northeast region including Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh causing most rivers including the Brahmaputra to flow above danger levels in many places and inundating fresh areas everyday.

Quoting reports of various districts, the officials said: "Over 13.17 lakh people in 2,404 villages affected by the floods and over 83,168 hectares of crop areas were badly affected due to the floods. Around 27,452 people took shelter in 273 relief camps."

The National Disaster Response Force, Assam State Disaster Response Force personnel, along with local administration, are continuously working to rescue the affected people and rendering relief services, including distribution of relief material to the marooned villagers.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has also directed Deputy Commissioners of all the affected districts to address the needs of the flood-hit people urgently while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.