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Assam: 30,000 affected by first wave of floods; relief camps set up as per COVID-19 guidelines

On Monday, the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Guwahati, predicted heavy rainfall in the Northeastern region for the next five days, issuing a red warning (extremely heavy rainfall) in Kokrajhar, Baksa and Chirang districts for the next two days.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati | Updated: May 26, 2020 9:37:26 am
Nagaon: Villagers watch a washed away road after flooding by Borpani River due to incessant rainfall, at Madhab Para near Kampur in Nagaon district of Assam, Friday, May 22, 2020. (PTI)

As COVID-19 cases rise in Assam, incessant rain has led to the flooding in five districts (Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Darrang and Goalpara) of the state, affecting 30,701 people and 9,804 animals in127 villages.

On Monday, the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Guwahati, predicted heavy rainfall in the Northeastern region for the next five days, issuing a red warning (extremely heavy rainfall) in Assam’s Kokrajhar, Baksa and Chirang districts for the next two days. Rain — heavy to medium — is expected in other parts of the state too. “The rain will continue as per the forecast for five days,” said Dr Sanjay O’Neill Shaw of RMC.

According to Pankaj Chakravarty, State Project Coordinator, Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the flood situation is still under control. “Yes, waters will rise but the situation is not very bad till now,” he said, “All rivers aren’t flowing above danger levels. It is only when all rivers flow above danger level that we have something to worry about.” Currently the Jia Bharali in Sonipur district and Puthimari at Kamrup district are flowing above the danger level.

Nagaon: A farmer carries bunches of paddy on his head after harvesting from a field, at Magurmari near Kampur in Nagaon district of Assam, Friday, May 22, 2020. (PTI)

As per a release by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, 8,941 people have been shifted to 33 relief camps in the Goalpara district. These are the first camps set up as per the Assam government’s new guidelines keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This time the camps are more spaced out. Where there would be one camp before now there are two so that social distancing norms can be followed,” said Varnali Deka, Deputy Commissioner of Goalpara district, where 8,941 people are currently in the camps — either school buildings or community halls. “Our team has checked all the people for temperature, those with symptoms are isolated and put in health centres,” she said adding that masks and sanitisers have been provided to the inmates. The SDRF and NDRF rescued 400 people from Goalpara, so far.

As per the ASDMA release, 579 hectares of crop area has also been destroyed, roads and bridges were breached, and erosion was reported in Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Udalguri districts.

On Sunday, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed all Deputy Commissioners to set up separate cells to carry out relief and rescue operations since “the State government is fighting against COVID-19 and flood and erosion simultaneously.”

On Monday, Assam reported its highest single-day COVID-19 spike so far, with 134 cases reported till the evening. The total number of reported cases in the state are 539, out of which 470 are active.

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