Death toll mounts as floodwater rises in India's Assam state

As many as five rivers are flowing above danger level

People leave the submerged village of Tarabari in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam and head for higher ground to escape rising floodwater. AP
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At least 10 more people were killed on Monday by rising floodwaters in Assam, India.

The deluge over the past week has affected about half a million residents of the north-eastern state.

Of the province's 35 districts, 33 have been inundated as torrential rain has triggered landslides and caused rivers to overflow, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said.

As many as five rivers are flowing above the danger level and at least one has breached the highest flood level mark, the authority said.

Two members of the police force were washed away in Nagaon, one of the worst-affected regions, while trying to rescue stranded people on Monday.

At least seven people were reported missing.

Monday’s fatalities pushed the state’s death toll to 82 since the first round of floods hit the region in April.

“People are in the relief camps," Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, chief executive of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, told The National.

More than 200,000 people in the state have been moved to 800 relief camps and more than 10,000 disaster management personnel are engaged in relief and rescue work, Mr Tripathi said.

A 113,485-hectare crop area has been swamped, with more than 5,000 animals washed away.

Even Assam’s national parks are submerged in floodwater.

More than 15 per cent of Kaziranga, the famous sanctuary and habitat of the one-horn rhino, has been inundated by the Brahmaputra River.

At least five animals, including a leopard, have died in the park.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) this month said rainfall in Assam had increased by 100 per cent this year.

Mr Tripathi said the extreme weather was putting extra strain on rescue and relief efforts.

Authorities are running special trains carrying relief supply, fuel and medical aid to flooded areas.

Assam state was in the grip of a devastating flood last month that had affected more than 800,000 people.

Severe rainfall

Neighbouring states Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh have also been battered by severe rainfall.

Meghalaya has recorded 172 per cent more rainfall than normal, while Arunachal Pradesh has recorded a surplus of 28 per cent this year, the IMD said.

Mawsynram in Meghalaya, the world’s wettest place, registered more than 1,000 millimetres of rain on June 17, the highest rainfall the weather agency has recorded at the station.

Pre-monsoon rains are lashing other parts of the country.

The IMD issued an "orange alert"— a colour-coded warning for heavy rainfall — in Mumbai and Thane in Maharashtra on Tuesday.

Heavy pre-monsoon rains are also expected in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal.

Updated: June 21, 2022, 12:51 PM
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