Seven more killed as Assam floods continue to wreak havoc

Area facing what has become annual flooding during monsoon season

A man carries his belongings from his partially submerged house in India's Assam state. AFP
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For the past three days, Riya Das has been stranded without water and electricity as flood waters inundated her town in India’s north-eastern Assam state.

“There is water as far as eyes can see … knee-deep water on the road. In some areas, water has gushed inside the homes … almost five feet. It is terrifying,” Ms Das told The National.

The 23-year-old visual arts student is among 300,000 people in Silchar — the largest town and the commercial hub of the southern Cachar district, which has been hit by widespread flooding.

The district, located in Barak Valley, faces what have become annual disasters during the monsoon season.

But this year, Silchar is one of 30 districts in the remote mountainous state that has been hit by unprecedented flooding since April.

A woman collects drinking water from a well in Barsimolua village in the Nalbari district, Assam state. AFP

At least 108 people — eight in the past 24 hours — have been killed across the state so far, authorities said.

Tens of thousands in the region have been left without electricity and drinking water as authorities battle food shortages by dropping packets and essential items from helicopters.

Video footage shows cars completely submerged and bodies floating down streets as the town’s cemeteries are inundated.

Ms Das said the early floods caught many people unprepared.

“The situation is getting worse minute by minute. Boats are running. No electricity, no network,” she said.

“We face floods every year but it is not dangerous as usually it is the sewage problem during the rains but this year, the river danger level has breached, causing floods,” she said.

She added that the flooding was so sudden that residents couldn't stock food or medicines.

“There was water in some areas but within a day, the entire town was flooded,” she said.

The state's chief minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Thursday conducted an aerial survey of the town.

“We are airlifting one lakh bottles of drinking water every day to Silchar … We also airlifted power department engineers and technicians to repair the electric transformers,” he said.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority on Friday said additional resources had been sent to severely affected districts, especially Cachar, to speed up rescue and relief operations.

More than 300 emergency workers and about 10,000 disaster management personnel are engaged in relief and rescue work, said Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, chief executive of the authority.

The flood has affected more than 4.5 million people, with more than half having fled to 800 relief camps.

A total crop area of 100,000 hectares has been affected and more than 5,000 cattle have been washed away.

The state was in the grip of another devastating flood in May, when 800,000 people were affected.

The India Meteorological Department earlier this month said Assam had recorded 100 per cent more rainfall compared to previous years.

Updated: June 24, 2022, 6:24 PM
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