While Assam continues to be inundated with the death toll from floods in the state rising to 87 on Tuesday, flooding in the neighbouring state of Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district have claimed the lives of five people in the past week alone.
On July 15, four children (three five-year-olds and one six-year-old) drowned in floodwaters in Tikrikilla village, followed by an 18-year-old woman in Demdema village the next day. The state government has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the deceased.
“Saddened to see 5 lives lost because of the floods in #GaroHills. Govt has released an ex gratia amount of Rs. 4 Lakhs each to the next of kin of the deceased. We are doing everything to ensure the safety of our citizens during this time. Our condolences to the bereaved families,” tweeted Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday evening.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured Sangma assistance from the Centre. “Loss of lives due to the floods in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya is very disturbing. I have spoken to the Chief Minister, Shri @SangmaConrad and assured him all possible help from the Central government. Nation stands resolutely with the people of Meghalaya in these trying times,” Shah wrote on Twitter.
The West Garo Hills district includes plain areas which are contiguous to the flooded districts of Dhubri, South Salmara Mankachar and Goalpara in Assam. “Incessant rains and waters from the Brahmaputra and Jinjiram rivers have flooded the plain areas of the district,” said Ram Singh, Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills district.
As per a report from the district administration, 1.7 lakh people in 195 villages have been affected. “Assessment of infrastructure damage will be done when water level drops,” said Singh, adding that more rain has been predicted in the coming days.
An advisory from the Central Water Commission (CWC) on Tuesday predicted isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall in the state.
Singh said that despite arranging for 25 relief camps, most people have remained in their homes or set up make-shift camps on the embankments along the road. “We are emphasising on constant supervision to ensure more lives are not lost. Anganwadi workers are now on vigil to oversee children and we are also trying to ensure no one goes out fishing etc,” he said.
Assam: Toll rises to 87
Meanwhile, two people lost their lives in flood-hit Morigaon and Nagaon districts of Assam on Tuesday, taking the death toll in the state from the latest spate of floods to 87. As per a report from the Assam Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), more than 24 lakh people in 24 districts of the state have been affected and 44,498 people are in 397 relief camps across the state.
Authorities said that it will take a while before the water recedes since heavy rains are expected in the days ahead. “Widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy to very heavy falls is very likely over Assam during next 2-3 days and rainfall intensity very likely to decrease thereafter” said the CWC release. The Brahmaputra and its tributaries continue to flow above the danger level.
Meanwhile, 90 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve is submerged. 147 animals have been rescued and 120 —including 9 rhinos — have drowned.
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