Assam floods kill 66; fight with Covid-19, oil well not stopping

Villagers on a makeshift raft during the floods in Assam

Assam Floods Kill 66 people so far. slides resulted in the deaths of 26 more people. Wildlife and infrastructure took a hit too.

The first floods hit Assam on May 25. Then, the second wave began on July 12. Across 3,376 villages, 45 lakh people are feeling the effects of the calamity.

Assam floods causing rivers to overflow

Assam floods kill 66. The floods are causing several rivers to flow well over the danger mark: Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili, Beki and Kushiyara. The worst-hit district remains Dhubri, with Barpeta and Goalpara next on the list. In fact, the Brahmaputra hit Guwahati, Dhubri and Goalpara the worst.

According to Pankaj Chakravarty, state project coordinator, ASDMA (Assam State Disaster Management Authority), the waves should subside slightly in the next few days.

Authorities set up flood relief camps, provide relief material

However, the government is trying their best to ensure the safety and security of as many people as they can. They managed to get 36,320 people to around 500 relief camps recently. A total of over 1.18 people have taken shelter since the first wave, including around 60,700 from just the second wave. On July 15, officials evacuated nearly another 40,000 stranded people.

Since the floods began, authorities distributed over 13,300 quintals of rice, dal and salt, along with nearly 31 thousand litres of mustard oil. Furthermore, they distributed other relief material as well, such as baby food, mosquito nets, water, soap and masks.

Sadly, several hundreds more are waist-deep in water staying close to their flooded houses. Many are seeing their farmlands affected too: floods hit 1.28 lakh hectares of those.

Wildlife affected – two rhinos drown due to Assam floods

Rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park
Rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park

Also, the wildlife does not seem well off either. Nearly the entirety of Kaziranga National Park is now submerged. The Kaziranga is home to 2/3 of the world’s population of one-horned rhinos, two of which drowned on July 15.  The flood also affected 19 of 40 camps at the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, and 24 of 25 camps at the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

66 animals reportedly died during the rainy season, of which 23 drowned. 12 died after a vehicle hit them. Furthermore, 45 hog deer suffered from injuries: floods affected 44 of them while a vehicle hit the last one. Around 35,74,170 domestic animals and poultry were also affected by the floods.

Fortunately, forest personnel rescued 117 animals, including a 1-year-old female rhino calf.

Infrastructure damaged

As for infrastructure, three bridges in Barpeta and one in Dhubri suffered damage. Also, land reportedly eroded in Nalbari, Baksa, Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar districts. Several roads, bridges and culverts also took damage in many other districts like Darrang, Udalguri, Nagaon, Kamrup, Lakhimput, Biswanath, and Chirang.

The floodwater also stopped the ongoing work to douse the fire at the OIL gas well, which started on June 9, though the gas leak began on May 27. OIL is paying Rs.25 crore for the damage to the environment and people. Around 7,000 people were evacuated to relief camps due to the fire. Authorities are hoping to douse the fire by July 17.

Assam floods not the only battle – Covid-19 too

Floods are only making the Covid-19 situation worse for Assam. As of July 16, the state has had 19,756 cases so far, of which 6,815 are active. 48 people passed away, including two doctors: Dr.Jahan Iqbal Ahmed from Gauhati Medical College, and Dr.PK Sharma from Tinsukia. Meanwhile, the state started random Covid-19 testing in a phased manner in Kokrajhar jail for both prisoners and jail staff.