While there has been an overall rainfall deficit in the Northeast this monsoon, continuous showers over the past week have caused flash floods in several parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, leading to two deaths — a three-year-old in Arunachal Pradesh and a 22-year-old in Assam — so far.
According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, 22,689 people from 118 villages in Dhemaji district alone have been affected. “Not all people have been displaced but around 800 people are staying in the three relief camps we have set up,” said an official from Dhemaji district’s Assam State Disaster Management Authority. On Thursday, 22-year-old, Bijoy Tanti, from Kamalpur village under Gogamukh revenue district in Dhemaji, was killed when he drowned in floodwaters.
“The three revenue circles which have been affected are Gogamukh, Jonai and Dhemaji,” said the official, adding that not only Dhemaji but the entire upper catchment area of Arunachal Pradesh has been affected. Heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh has led to the swelling of the Siang river upstream, thus affecting the New Siang and Lali rivers and other tributaries of the Brahmaputra. Around 4,078 hectares of agricultural land in Dhemaji has been submerged under floodwaters. In Assam’s Chirang district, 1,659 people living in the Bengtol and Bijni areas have been affected and there are 1,245 living in the relief camps.
Meanwhile, in Lakhimpur district, the release of waters from the Ranganadi dam by NEEPCO over the last 24 hours has flooded a number of villages. “This has been caused by a combination of heavy rains and release of dam waters. The gates have been open, and water has been released several times,” says an official of the Lakhimpur district’s disaster authority. According to the official State Disaster Management report, 34,212 people in 55 villages under five revenue circles in Lakhimpur have been affected.
In Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar, incessant rain since last night has caused heavy flash flood resulting in a child’s death and three people missing. “A small stream which runs here is overflowing. As per our surveys, 29 houses have been damaged and 10 have been washed away completely,” said Beru Dulom, Field Officer of the state’s Disaster Management Authority. He added, “A family of four was swept away in Modirijo at 4.30 am today — while the husband swam to safety, the wife and the 10-year-old daughter are missing. We recovered the body of their three-year-old son, Kolam Beyong, a while ago.” The NDRF and SDRF teams are still searching for missing people.
Early this morning, a massive landslide triggered by rains has blocked roads in the state’s Papum Pare district. Reportedly a Sumo with 10 passengers was buried under. “However, they have all been rescued. Landslides triggered by rains has become a common situation. Many spots at the Yupia-Potin Trans-Arunachal Highway have been blocked,” said Dulom adding that a government school is in the process of being set up as a relief camp. In the other part of the state, the Siang water levels have been rising gradually. “We have already evacuated some people to avoid a crisis situation” said Dulom.