Heavy rains, inundation, and floods continue to wreak havoc in India, with the death toll rising in Assam, Bihar and West Bengal this week. Over a crore people have been affected by the situation, with many shifted to relief camps and temporary shelters. Train and rail services of the Eastern Railway have also taken a hit, with many lines inundated or damaged in the rains.
The number of lives claimed by the floods in Assam has touched 123; 11 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. Nearly 33.45 lakh people in 24 districts of the state have been affected till now. Dhubri is the worst hit district, with 8.5 lakh people affected, followed by Morigaon (5.1 lakh). According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 304 relief camps have been set up so far.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to appraise him of the situation. He requested the prime minister to set up an inter-ministerial team headed by a cabinet minister to visit the state and take stock of the situation.
The water level of the Brahmaputra has receeded, and is below the danger mark in Dibrugarh, but is still flowing above danger levels in Jorhat, Biswanath, Kaziranga, Tezpur, Morigaon, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri.
In Kaziranga National Park, nearly 59 per cent of the area remains inundated, an improvement from the 90 per cent it was three days ago. Over 100 anti-poaching camps remain under water.
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The death toll in Bihar has risen to 72, with over 73 lakh people affected by incessant rains and inundation. Fears of floods have gripped the state, after at least 14 districts in the north were submerged, the latest being Gopalganj. Yesterday, a pregnant lady delivered a baby on a rescue boat with the help of NDRF personnel in Madhubani district.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi were to conduct an aerial survey of the Bettiah and Valmikinagar areas yesterday, but were forced to abandon their plans due to bad weather. They are currently monitoring the situation from Patna.
So far, 2.74 lakh people have been relocated to higher ground, while 1.16 lakh people have been taken to relief camps.
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The toll in West Bengal hit 32 on Wednesday. Over 14 lakh people have been affected in six northern districts of the state, namely Malda, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and South and North Dinajpur. The state government has set up more than 600 relief camps, while NGOs have added at least 800 till now. NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed in the region to help with rescue efforts.
In a statement, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “We have to rescue the people first and only after that we will start evaluating the magnitude of damage due to the floods. I have already spoken to the prime minister and home minister.”
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Around 1.2 lakh people have been displaced in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya due to floods caused by the rising of the Brahmaputra tributary, the Jingiram River. “A total of 136 villages in Selsella block along with 3-4 villages in Tikrikilla blocks have been affected by the recent flood. Over 1.2 lakh people have been affected and a total of 22,898 households were hit in the current flooding of the area,” district deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi was quoted as saying by PTI. Relief camps have been set up and the SDRF has deployed teams for rescue operations.
Meanwhile, the capital of Karnataka received the highest rainfall in a day in August in 127 years on Tuesday. Heavy rains lashed the city, which received 12.8 cm of rain in five hours from Monday night to Tuesday morning. The worst-hit parts of the city were Koramangala, HSR Layout, Ejipura, Jayanagar, JP Nagar, BTM Layout, Bannerghatta Road and parts of Indiranagar. While no deaths were reported, power lines were snapped, vehicles submerged, streets were flooded and trees were uprooted.
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On Wednesday, after taking stock of the flood situation in Dhaurahra tehsil, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed district officials to ensure effective relief measures are taken for the people who have been affected. “Any laxity in this regard would be taken seriously,” he has told them. He had previously conducted an aerial survey of Gonda, Shrawasti, Balrampur and Bahraich districts.
(With inputs from PTI)