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Water Costlier than Petrol, No Place to Cremate: Assam's Tears in Spate as Flood Situation Still Grim

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: June 26, 2022, 15:19 IST

New Delhi

A motorcyclist wades  through a flooded road, in Kamrup district of Assam. (PTI)

A motorcyclist wades through a flooded road, in Kamrup district of Assam. (PTI)

In Silchar town, submerged for the last six days due to breach in a dyke at Betkundi, efforts are on to evacuate marooned people to safety

Four more deaths in Assam due to the frightening flood situation pushed the death toll to 122 on Saturday. About 25.10 lakh are suffering and Silchar town in Cachar district continued to be under water for the sixth consecutive day on Saturday.

The fatalities a day ago were reported in Barpeta, Cachar, Darrang and Golaghat districts. The number of people remaining affected by the floods, however, dipped to 25.10 lakh in 27 districts from 33.03 lakh in 28 districts on the previous day, as per a bulletin issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).

The water levels in most of the rivers are maintaining a receding trend although Brahmaputra and Kopili are flowing above the danger mark in Dhubri and Nagaon respectively. In Silchar town, submerged for the last six days due to breach in a dyke at Betkundi, efforts are on to evacuate marooned people to safety with priority being given to ailing persons, Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli.

A pregnant woman, several patients who undergo dialysis daily and those suffering from major illnesses have been shifted during the day. Packets containing food, drinking water bottles and other essential items were airdropped at different places of the town by Indian Air Force helicopters and this will continue till the situation improves, she said.

Two drones have been deployed over Silchar for carrying out the flood inundation mapping as well as to provide relief materials to the affected people. Eight NDRF teams comprising 207 personnel from Itanagar and Bhubaneswar along with an Indian Army team of 120 jawans have been deployed in Silchar.

Drones Distribute Water

According to reports, the district administration is using drones to deliver essentials to flood-affected people. A team from Chennai, on the direction of the CM has been appointed to distribute water to flood victims, a report by Barak Bulletin stated.

‘Drinking Water Costlier than Petrol’

Meanwhile, a report in Deccan Herald described how drinking water had become ‘costlier than petrol’ in the state.

Detailing the suffering of one Biju Das, the report states he was left with no drinking water since the serious flood inundated his house at Sonai Road in Silchar town on June 20. He then had to buy two bottles of one-litre drinking water at Rs. 110 each on Friday, it said.

“By Thursday, the water we had in storage was exhausted. There has been no electricity since Monday and the inverter was under water. So it was not possible to water. It was not possible to go out due to strong water currents. On Friday, I walked about one kilometre in waist-deep flood water to buy drinking water. A bottle of one-litre drinking water, which is normally sold at Rs. 20 is being sold at Rs. 100 and even in some places at Rs. 150. I had no option but to buy two bottles," Das told Deccan Herald.

No Place to Rest the Dead

The residents in Assam’s Silchar city are facing problems as all the crematory and burial grounds are submerged in water due to floods, IANS said in a report on Saturday.

People were seen waiting with the lifeless bodies of their loved ones in the buildings, desperately looking for help. Some were carrying the bodies in makeshift boats in search of burial grounds, the report stated.

CM Sarma’s Second Visit

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday conceded that the administration has not been able to reach all the marooned people yet. He said instructions have been issued to agencies involved in the relief and rescue operations to maximise their reach and ensure help for all affected population at the earliest.

Sarma waded through the waters on foot at places and sailed in a NDRF rubber boat, as he interacted with the local populace to get a first-hand understanding of their situation. Cabinet Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy, several MLAs and officials of local civil and police administration accompanied the chief minister during the visit.

The CM held a review meeting with district administration officials on the situation and the measures being taken for rescue and relief operations. Speaking to reporters later, Sarma accepted that the administration has not been able to reach out to all affected people thus far.

“In many areas, we have not been able to reach out to the marooned people. We are not denying it. I have issued instructions on how to maximise our reach. We are also open to suggestions on the matter," he said. Sarma appealed to people to stand by each other during this time of distress and appreciated the philanthropic activities by individuals and groups in Silchar.

“About 50 per cent work of the administration is being done by philanthropic organisations and people, he stated. “People are overall happy with the relief operations. It is not possible to get to each and every person, but more or less we have reached out to everyone who have sought help," Sarma claimed.

He said medical camps will be organised in the town from Monday or the day after, and doctors from Guwahati and Army will assist in running these camps. “The water level at Barak river is still flowing above the danger level. It has to reduce considerably before the damage can be repaired.

There is forecast of more rain. We are now trying to ensure that there is minimum further damage in case of more rainfall, the chief minister maintained. Talking about a damaged dyke at Betkundi area, due to which the town has been largely submerged, the CM said repair work will take some time.

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first published:June 26, 2022, 09:38 IST
last updated:June 26, 2022, 15:19 IST
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