Twelve people including four children have died in floods in India’s north-eastern Assam state over the past 24 hours, officials said on Thursday, as pre-monsoon rains continued to batter the state.
The latest deaths pushed the death toll in Assam to 100 since the first floods in April.
The latest floods are one among the worst since then, with more than 5.5 million people and nearly 5,000 villages affected in 32 of the state’s 35 districts, Assam's disaster management authority said.
The situation was particularly critical in Silchar, a town of 300,000 in south Cachar district where the water levels of the Barak and Kushiara rivers continued to rise after crossing the danger mark.
Hundreds of families were stranded in waterlogged homes and face a shortage of food and drinking water.
Electricity was cut off in several parts of the town and roads connecting the district with other areas were blocked.
Photos and videos taken by residents showed water gushing into streets and houses in low-lying areas.
“There is flood water everywhere outside my house. Luckily, my house is built on a height but the veranda is completely submerged. There is no way we can step out of the house. There is no electricity either,” Deepak Ghosh, a resident, told The National.
“It floods every year but we have not seen such levels of disaster before."
Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, head of the state disaster management authority, said that while the situation was improving in other parts of the state, Cachar remained critical.
The authorities were dropping food, water and other essentials to residents from helicopters.
Army, police and fire and emergency services were working alongside the state and national disaster response agencies in the relief and rescue operations.
“We plan to continue such airdropping for our stranded people in the days ahead, apart from the regular relief. Our government is firmly with the people of Barak Valley,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
He was scheduled to visit on Thursday to assess the situation.
Incessant rains also caused flash floods and landslides in the northern Kashmir region on Wednesday.
The Jhelum river breached the danger mark in the city of Srinagar and more than two dozen families living on the banks had to be rescued.
The authorities also sounded a high alert in low-lying areas close to the Chenab river and its tributaries.
The floods and landslides blocked the strategic Jammu-Srinagar motorway, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.
Separately, as many as 50 people were rescued after they were trapped in their vehicles by heavy snowfall in the high-altitude Kishtwar district.