Assam expedites response, relief operations in calamity-hit districts

Guwahati, May 19: Amid the precarious flood-landslide situation in the state, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has expedited response and recovery services by engaging the concerned stakeholders and deploying additional resources to the severely-affected districts, especially Dima Hasao and Barak Valley.

“A team of 20 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel with all necessary equipment have been air transported from Guwahati to Haflong in Dima Hasao district for further search and rescue operation of the stranded people,” a statement from ASDMA on Thursday evening said.

“Essential food items, including rice, daal and other commodities have been air-lifted from Jorhat to Haflong with the help of Indian Air Force helicopters,” it said.

Assam Cabinet ministers Jogen Mohan and Bimal Borah meanwhile took stock of the site of massive landslides that ravaged parts of New Haflong railway station on Thursday.

The hill district of Dima Hasao has been cut off from road and rail connectivity following heavy rainfall in the past few days.

Cabinet minister Ashok Singhal, on the other hand, visited the flood-affected areas in Cachar district while minister Parimal Suklabaidya visited Karimganj district for stocktaking of the current situation.

During assessment, Singhal said families who couldn’t come to the relief camps but are on road-side or living in their relative’s houses should also be provided relief through panchayat secretaries and Lat Mandals.

The minister held a series of meetings with the merchant associations in the three affected districts of Barak Valley to ensure the smooth supply of essential food commodities.

Nine persons – four in flood and five in landslides – have lost their lives in the first wave of the flood in the state.

According to the cumulative flood report till date, a total of 7,17,046 residents of 1,929 villages in 29 districts have been affected by floods and while landslides have caused damage in five districts.

A total of 58,065.29 hectares of crop area has been affected in the flood.

“National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel and volunteers have evacuated a total of 14,550 stranded persons from various affected districts,” the report stated.

As many as 217 relief camps and 224 relief distribution centres have been opened in all affected areas with 49,400 people staying in the relief camps.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has made a proposal to ASDMA to deploy seven teams of technical specialists and consultants to support the district disaster management authorities of Cachar, Hojai, Darrang, Biswanath, Nagaon, Morigaon and Dima Hasao districts in monitoring the flood relief camps in accordance with the relief camp management SOP, assessing ground situation and needs and supporting relevant stakeholders in strengthening the response activities.

Enhanced rainfall activity

The inclement weather in Northeast however is not likely to relent in the next two to three days.

According to the weather forecast of the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) here on Thursday evening, the enhanced rainfall activity over the Northeastern states would continue till May 22.

On the current meteorological condition, the Met office stated that an east-west trough runs from East Uttar Pradesh to Meghalaya through Bihar and South Himalayan West Bengal.

“Moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal is likely to continue over to Northeast India owing to low-level southerly/southwesterly winds in the next couple of days,” a statement from RMC said.

“Under the influence of above system, widespread rainfall accompanied by thunderstorm/lightning and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places is very likely over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam-Meghalaya, Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura and thunderstorm/lightning and heavy-to-very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places very likely over Meghalaya during the period,” it said.

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