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Assam Battles Twin Disaster

Amid worldwide pandemic, the Assam flood situation has turned miserable last week affecting 13.2 Lakh people from 25 districts. The second wave of flood has killed 9 in districts of Goalpara, Barpeta, Dhemaji, Udalguri, and Dibrugarh taking the year’s death toll to 24.

Incessant rainfall across Assam has surged the Brahmaputra above the danger level at various points including the state capital, Guwahati.

Barpeta remains to be the worst-hit affecting nearly 1.35 lakh people, South Salmara has emerged second in the list affecting 1.95 Lakh people followed by Nalbari with almost 1.17 lakh. More than 10,000 have been rescued during the past 24 hours in 7 districts. The deluge has shattered districts like Biswanath, Kamrup, Dibrugarh, Dubri, Majuli, Siva Sagar, Barpeta, Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Majuli, Darrang, Golaghat, Jorhat, Morigaon and West Karbi Anglong.

273 relief camps have been set up across 12 districts and 27,452 people have taken shelter in those camps set up by the respective District Administration. Apart from human lives, the effects on animals and agricultural land have wreaked havoc.

According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), at present 2,404 villages are submerged and 83,168.08 hectares of crop area have been drained by the floodwater. As water rushes Kaziranga, wild animals including the famous one-horned rhinoceros have come closer to human habitat searching for a smudge on dry ground. Sources from Morigaon said that 80% area of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has been flooded, forcing wild animals, to move to nearby highlands.

The natural phenomenon has brought destruction to river embankments, several bridges and culverts, and other infrastructures. Massive erosion has been witnessed in different places. Landslides have been reported from Guwahati, North Guwahati, and Haflong. The guard wall of the Raj Bhawan premise collapsed on Saturday due to landslip.

The downpour and resultant flood have affected operations in Baghjan where a leaking oil well owned by Oil India Ltd. (OIL) caught fire on June 9. The adjoining areas are badly hit by the flood, making it unsafe to carry out operations to put off the fire and cap the oil well which has been spewing natural gas and oil condensates since May 27.

The authorities have distributed ration along with other relief materials among the inmates of the relief camp. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted northeast India to witness heavy showers for the next 2-3 days.

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