Guwahati: The flood situation in Assam turned critical on Tuesday, with all 33 districts of the state coming under the grip of the deluge that has claimed 17 lives and affected over 45 lakh people so far, said officials.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries are flowing above the danger level in most of the affected districts, including Guwahati.
More than 45 lakh people have been affected in 4,620 villages, with 1,01,085 people taking refuge in 226 relief camps. As many as 562 distribution centres have been set up to provide relief to the affected, it said.
With two persons dying in landslides triggered by heavy rains, the toll has risen to 17, officials said. They added that the Army is helping in rescue operations and the Border Security Force (BSF) has also been called in for assistance in the border districts. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are working round the clock in flood-affected areas, they said.
In Guwahati, waters of the Brahmaputra submerged Uzanbazar, Kharguli and Bharalamukh areas while the situation in Kaziranga and Manas National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary turned critical as vast stretches of land were inundated, with animals moving towards higher lands.
Forest and police personnel are maintaining a strict vigil to ensure safety of animals. Traffic has been restricted along the nearby national highways to allow safe movement of animals, according to an official report.
With over 150 anti-poaching camps in the Kaziranga affected by the floods, the authorities are working round-the-clock to check poaching at the UNESCO World Heritage site, officials said.
ASDMA said the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level at Jorhat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri along with Burhidehing at Khowang in Dibrugarh. Also flowing above their danger marks are Subansiri river at Badatighat in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri river at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali river at Sonitpur and Kopili river at Kampur and Dharamtul in Nagaon.
The Puthimari river is flowing above the danger mark at Kamrup, Beki river at Barpeta, Barak river at Cachar and Badarpur river and Katakhal river at Hailakandi, it said.
The Centre has released Rs 251.55 crore to the State Disaster Response Fund. State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a tweet, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the "prompt release" of the funds.
I thank Hon PM Sri @narendramodi and HM Sri @AmitShah for prompt release of ₹251.55 cr grants-in-aid to #Assam towards central share of SDRF for 2019-20.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 16, 2019
This shall immensely help in relief operations and mitigating sufferings of people affected by #AssamFloods.@PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/SqsIZg79WZ
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat made an aerial survey of Dibrugarh and Majuli island — the world's largest river island — to review the situation with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananada Sonowal and members of his cabinet.
Appreciating the efforts of the state government in flood mitigation, Shekhawat said, "The Centre is behind the state government and all efforts are being made to provide relief to the people."
Shekhawat added he was sent to take stock of the flood situation in the state after Modi on Monday spoke to Sonowal over the phone.
After the state sends its loss assessment report, the Centre will send a verification team for further release of funds, Shekhawat said.
Assam Assembly Speaker HN Goswami said the House session, which was scheduled to begin from July 18, has been postponed to July 26.
Also, according to an official release, the two-day Indo-Bangladesh stakeholders meeting scheduled from July 19 has been postponed and the dates for the next meeting will be announced later.
(With inputs from agencies)