Death toll climbs to 30 as floods ravage India's north-eastern Assam state

Area is being battered by heavy pre-monsoon rains

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Floods claimed at least two more lives inAssam on Thursday,pushing the death toll to 30, as pre-monsoon rains continued to batter the north-eastern Indian state.

More than 560,000 people ― including 113,000 children ― in 12 districts are affected by heavy rainfall and landslides, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said in its latest flood report.

Twenty-five of the 30 died in the floods, while the rest were killed in landslides.

More than 47,100 hectares of crop areas remain submerged, the agency said.

Assam regularly suffers from annual flooding but in recent years deluges have caused widespread havoc.

The government has established an inter-ministerial central team to study the flood-ravaged districts in the state.

While the rescue operations are over, the main challenge is the restoration of infrastructure such as roads and railway links that were swept away, authorities said.

The state agencies were working round the clock to restore roads and clear tunnels that were blocked from the debris suspending vehicular movement.

The continuing rains were hindering the work, authorities said.

In Dima Hasao, a picturesque tourist destination that was completely devastated, roads have been partially restored, Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, chief executive of ASDMA, told The National.

Air Force sorties were bringing essential supplies for those trapped and airlifting the marooned.

“The number of people in relief camps and those affected are declining," Mr Tripathi said. "But we are not totally free from floods and need more time.”

In Dima Hasao, roads have been partially restored and some supplies have been started, he said.

“We are ensuring people can go back to their villages," he said.

Extreme weather conditions have killed hundreds of people in the past month.

More than 39 people were killed and three injured because of dust storms, lightning and thunderstorms in northern Uttar Pradesh state on Monday, according to the government.

At least 33 people were also killed across 16 districts in the eastern state of Bihar in gale-force storms, lightning and heavy rains over the weekend.

Parts of southern Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala states have also recorded widespread pre-monsoon rains for the past few days.

The monsoon is likely to hit Kerala on Sunday.

On Friday, the weather office said that “favourable conditions” were forming over Kerala for the onset of the south-west monsoon “during the next two to three days”.

The monsoon season in India starts in the southern state of Kerala, and moves north-west, covering the entire subcontinent over three months.

The season is key for India’s economy, because the country receives about 75 per cent of its annual rainfall during this period.

Updated: May 27, 2022, 10:33 AM
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