Floods worsen, no trains to Northeast, NH cut off; PM Modi calls up Sonowal ; Army out

The Brahmaputra caused a major breach at Hatimura near Jakhalabandha, just west of Kaziranga National Park in the wee hours of Sunday, catching thousands of residents of Jakhalabandha and Kaliabor and the adjoining villages.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Updated: August 13, 2017 10:58 pm
assam flood, national highway  block, kaziranga flood, assam rain, assam highway block, nagaon jorhat block, Sarbananda Sonowal, narendra modi, indian express news, india news Kaziranga: Rhinos with their calves standing on an elevated land in the flooded Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Wednesday. PTI Photo 

Incessant rains across the region has worsened the flood scenario in Assam, with the Brahmaputra breaching its embankment at Jakhalabandha in central Assam, thus cutting off the national highway between Nagaon and Jorhat, and inundating hundreds of villages.

Floods in Katihar in Bihar on the other hand have cut off the lone rail link to the North-eastern region.

In Guwahati, the state government asked the Army and Air Force to remain on standby to aid the district authorities whenever the need arose. In Nagaon, Kokrajhar and Morigaon, columns of the Army were already deployed in Sunday to rescue the marooned people. Ten persons lost their lives on Sunday, taking the toll in the second wave up to 15 since August 10. The first wave had claimed 89 human lives.

The Brahmaputra caused a major breach at Hatimura near Jakhalabandha, just west of Kaziranga National Park in the wee hours of Sunday, catching thousands of residents of Jakhalabandha and Kaliabor and the adjoining villages. National Highway 715 has been submerged at Jakhalabandha and at several places in Kaziranga, while the Jakhalabandha-Silghat railway branch-line has been also overtopped at several places, official sources said.

“The situation is bad. Though the water-level is slightly receding in upper Assam, it rose throughout Sunday in central and lower Assam. The national highway has been submerged in several places in Kaziranga and Kaliabor. We held a meeting with Army, IAF and NDRF officers in Guwahati on Sunday, and asked them to help whenever required,” state chief secretary VK Pipersenia told The Indian Express.

People have taken shelter on the un-submerged portions of the highway, with Kaliabor sub-divisional officer Pankaj Chakravarty saying several schools where relief camps were set up early Sunday morning had to be abandoned as those too got inundated later in the day. Kaliabor incidentally is represented in the state assembly by water resource minister Keshab Mahanta.

The Brahmaputra has been flowing above the danger level from Sadiya to Dhubri since Friday, while several of its tributaries too have been overflowing, causing havoc in 21 of the state’s 32 districts. The authorities have suspended vehicular movement on NH-715 between Kaliabor and Numaligarh, with traffic to and fro Guwahati being diverted through Bokajan, Daboka and Nagaon.

No rail link to Northeast:

The railways have suspended all train movement between Guwahati and the rest of the country after floods overtopped the railway track at several places near Kishanganj in Bihar since early Sunday morning. Trains that have been suspended included the Rajdhani Express, Kamrup Express, Brahmaputra Mail, Northeast Express, Dibrugarh-Chennai Express, Dibrugarh-Lalgarh Express, Dibrugarh-Chandigarh Express, Guwahati-Okha Express, Guwahati-Puri Express among others.

The Meteorological department has forecast heavy rainfall and thundershower across the North-eastern region till August 17. The current Meteorological analysis and numerical model guidance suggests that fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity is most likely over the North-Eastern states till Friday, a press release issued by the Met department said.

PM calls up Sonowal:

With the Assam flood situation turning grave, prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday afternoon called up chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and enquired about the scale of devastation caused by the current wave of floods. The Prime Minister assured all cooperation from the Centre in tackling the situation, a press release issued by the CM’s office said.

Meanwhile, Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary in the PMOon Sunday directed the Assam chief secretary VK Pipersenia to submit a report to the PMO detailing the damage and devastation caused by the current wave of floods in Assam.

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Kaziranga submerged:
The flood situation in Kaziranga National Park in central Assam had also aggravated by the Brahmaputra floods, with official sources saying 83 per cent of the Park was under water till Sunday afternoon. While areas under 148 anti-poaching camps have been submerged, 13 camps have been evacuated after they were completely submerged.

A large number of animals have fled Kaziranga to take shelter in the Karbi Anglong hills across the National Highway 715 that forms the Park’s southern boundary.

The Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation & Conservation (CWRC) has rescued nine Kaziranga animals since Saturday after they were washed away by the floods. These included two rhino calfs, two elephant calfs and five hog deer.

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