2 dead as flooding displaces a million in Assam

Villagers making their way on a makeshift raft through a flooded field to reach a safer place in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam yesterday. Torrential rain hit at least 23 of the state's 33 districts.
Villagers making their way on a makeshift raft through a flooded field to reach a safer place in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam yesterday. Torrential rain hit at least 23 of the state's 33 districts.PHOTO: REUTERS

GUWAHATI (India) • Heavy flooding triggered by monsoon rains has forced more than a million people to flee their homes in the north-east Indian state of Assam, said the authorities yesterday, warning that the crisis was becoming more critical by the hour.

The Brahmaputra River, one of the largest rivers in the world, which flows from Tibet into India and then into Bangladesh, burst its banks in Assam at the weekend, inundating more than 2,000 villages, and it was still raining yesterday.

"Two people have died in separate incidents of drowning in the past 24 hours and more than one million people have been affected, with the flood situation turning critical by the hour," said a state government flood bulletin.

Torrential rain hit at least 23 of Assam's 33 districts and the federal water resources body said water levels in the Brahmaputra were expected to rise, with more rain forecast over the next three days.

"The flood situation remains extremely grave, with several embankments breached," said Assam Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta.

Most of Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhinoceros, was underwater, said the authorities.

Assam, famous for its tea plantations, is hit by seasonal flooding each year, forcing state and federal governments to spend millions of rupees on flood control.

Paramilitary personnel were deployed across the state for rescue operations and to ensure people maintain social distancing in makeshift shelter camps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the authorities said.

Assam has so far reported 7,492 coronavirus infections and 11 deaths.

REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2020, with the headline '2 dead as flooding displaces a million in Assam'. Print Edition | Subscribe