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Assam gears up for Cyclone Remal; heavy rain alert issued to districts

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Guwahati, may 27: The Assam government has taken extensive measures to ensure safety of its citizens in the wake of the impending increase in rainfall and wind speeds owing to Cyclone Remal over north Bay of Bengal.

Notably, the Indian Meteorological Department has warned of extremely heavy rainfall over Assam along with other Northeastern states on May 27 and 28.

Orange alert has been issued for Dhubri, South Salmara, Bongaigaon, Bajali, Tamulpur, Barpeta, Nalbari, Morigaon, Nagaon, Hojai and West Karbi Anglong while red alert (for extremely heavy rainfall) has been issued for Chirang, Goalpara, Baksa, Dima Hasao, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.

Squally winds of 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph are likely over South Assam and Meghalaya on May 27.

Amidst the cyclone alert and heavy rain prediction, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has ramped up preparations along with other departments, agencies and district administration to face any eventualities arising out of heavy rainfall and winds.

Nodal officers from ASDMA and the revenue and disaster management department convened a series of meetings with all the district disaster management authorities (DDMAs) on Saturday to review the state of preparedness of the DDMAs for the situation that might arise out of the severe cyclonic storm Remal.

NDRF teams are already prepositioned in Cachar, Bongaigaon, and Dibrugarh. The fire and emergency services (F&ES) headquarters have kept all SDRF teams and fire stations ready.

ASDMA has directed all the DDMAs to review the situation and, as per need, plying of boats may be regulated in the mainstream of Brahmaputra River on May 27 and 28, particularly in Dhubri, Goalpara, South Salmara-Mankachar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts and also Barak and Kusiara rivers in the Barak Valley districts.

The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has ensured the desiltation of major river channels such as Bharalu, Bahini, Basistha, Mora Bharalu and Lakhimijan along with other major drains. Super sucker machines and pumps with additional manpower have been mobilised as well.

The GMC is also closely monitoring the areas which have faced waterlogging issues in the past like Hatigaon, Wireless, Sijubari, Chandmari, GNB Road and Rukminigaon among other flash flood-prone areas.

Further anticipatory evacuation of vulnerable population from the landslide-prone areas in Guwahati (Kamrup Metro), Kamrup, Dima Hasao, Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong districts may also be considered.

The health department has alerted and necessary action regarding the availability of emergency medicine, health facilities staff and necessary communication as per SOP and the action plan for flood has been activated.

Meanwhile, the power department has formed a central monitoring team at the circle level for monitoring and quick response teams (QRTs) under a subdivision with a team leader for each QRT.

The forest department, along with the officials of DDMAs, had also served notices to the illegally-encroached areas and instructed the inhabitants to shift to safer zones.

The panchayat and rural development department has engaged community members for effective response and take the help of women SHGs as well.

On the other hand, the Assam PWD (public works department) will be keeping a close eye on ongoing construction activities and areas susceptible to landslides.

The irrigation department has also issued instructions to keep the regulator gates open to ensure the free flow of high flood water.

While all the government departments are fully geared up to deal with any situation, people in general have been advised to take all necessary precautions such as avoiding areas prone to water-logging, shifting to safer zones, storing ample stock of drinking water, essential food, including dry ration, besides listening to warning bulletins.

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