NEW DELHI/SHILLONG/TURA, June 21: Meghalaya’s demand for a flood relief package is likely to be considered after the visit of the inter-ministerial central team to the flood-affected areas to assess the actual damage. The state has sought Rs 300 crore from the Centre to meet the losses sustained by flood and landslides.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who announced the visit, also spoke with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and discussed the flood situation in the hill state.
The Centre had already allocated funds under disaster relief to each state including Meghalaya, official sources here said on Tuesday. Any additional amount can be sanctioned only after the visit and submission of a report by the central team, it added.
“An inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) will visit the flood-affected areas of Assam and Meghalaya to assess the damages. After the earlier spell of floods, an IMCT visited the affected areas of Assam from May 26 to May 29, 2022,” the Home minister had said in a tweet.
Shah also spoke with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and reviewed the situation and assured every possible help.
“Spoke to CM Assam Shri @himantabiswa and CM Meghalaya Shri @SangmaConrad to discuss the situation in parts of both states in the wake of heavy rainfall & flooding. Modi government stands firmly with the people of Assam and Meghalaya in this hour of need,” he had added.
Rains persist, essential items airdropped in SGH
Nature’s wrath continues to take its toll on Meghalaya even though the intensity of rainfall has subsided in the last few days.
On Monday, landslides occurred at Gambegre and Rongram C&RD Block in West Garo Hills affecting hundreds of residents in three villages, officials said.
Some houses were reportedly damaged following mud slides at Mawkynrew C&RD Block in East Khasi Hills.
Although damage to property is being reported from some parts of the state, no loss of life was reported from anywhere. Movement of traffic on National Highway 6 was normal on Tuesday, East Jaintia Hills Police said.
Essential commodities were airdropped by the Indian Air Force in many inaccessible villages in South Garo Hills where at least eight persons are reportedly dead or missing.
Siju, Rongara, Maheshkhola and Khalu and adjoining areas, all in South Garo Hills, remained cut off from the rest of the state. The bridge at Karukol on NH-62 leading to Siju was washed away while the same road towards Nongalbibra has suffered extensive damage. The main bridge connecting Rongara has also been washed away while the roads connecting Khalu and Maheshkhola are inaccessible.
In Rongara and Siju essential supplies are being routed through boats.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma reached Garo Hills on Tuesday to visit the affected areas in West and South Garo Hills districts.
The CM who began his tour with a visit to Dalu is halting for the night at Baghmara before venturing into places severely affected in the recent deluge.
The CM was accompanied by MLAs and officials of the district administration and Public Works Department. He met villagers and promised to work on a war footing to restore connections that have been lost due to the flash floods.
Opposition leader Mukul Sangma also visited Baghmara on Tuesday to assess the damage.
Affected villagers complain of neglect
At least six villages located on the border of South Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills districts have complained that neither the district administrations nor the state government has reached out to them following the devastating rainfall on June 17.
Many areas in the interior, including the villages of Kalu (SGH), Kalu (WKH), Rengdim, Wakpongram, Bokchung and Nengchigen were badly impacted by the rains leaving them completely cut off from the rest of the state. Despite four days passing, apparently no attempts have been made by anyone to help the huge populace that lives there.
According to locals, most of the villagers have lost their households and their livelihoods to one of the worst spells of rains to have ever hit the region.
Recalling the situation, the Rengdim unit of the All Khasi Hills Nokma Welfare Association said they were the first ones to come forward during the time of crisis to help those affected by the devastating floods. An amount of Rs 6,000 each was provided by the association to at least 30 families to overcome the crisis at hand.
Many victims have complained of the administration not yet reaching out to them to support them in rebuilding their lives. No relief measures were initiated for them and they survived only through the support of the Church and the community.
The gravity of the situation was evident for pictures of videos emerging from the crisis-hit villages. The value of food for those hit hard by nature’s fury can be understood through a video showing a girl risking her life to save a packet of biscuits. Her mother, as was seen in the video, was seen encouraging her to retrieve more, knowing well that help may be days away.
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