New Delhi: There was no let-up in the flood situation in Assam and Bihar on Wednesday, with the deluge claiming 44 more lives in the two states. In the north, three children of a family were killed and three other members seriously injured when the roof of their house collapsed during heavy rains in Bilaspur village of Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the death toll in the state rose to 27. Four deaths were reported from Morigaon, two each from Sonitpur and Udalguri districts and one each from Kamrup (Metro) and Nagaon districts, according to the ASDMA bulletin. A rhino died in the Kaziranga National Park while the Brahmaputra and its tributaries were flowing above the danger mark in various places in the state, including in Guwahati, it said.
The flood waters have receded from Hailakandi district but still 57.51 lakh people remain affected, it added. The Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger level in Jorhat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri along with rivers Burhidehing at Khowang in Dibrugarh district, Subansiri river at Badatighat in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri river at Numaligarh in Golaghat district, Jia Bharali river at Sonitpur, Kopili river at Kampur and Dharamtul in Nagaon district, the bulletin said.
Vast areas of Kaziranga, Manas National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary were submerged, forcing the wild animals, including deer and buffaloes to move towards the highlands in Karbi Anglong Hills. The Northeast Frontier Railway has slowed down trains in Abhayapuri-Jogighopa section for safety as flood battered villagers, who have flocked to the railway embankment to take shelter.
Death toll in the Bihar flash floods, caused by torrential rainfall in the catchment areas of Nepal over the weekend, soared to 67 on Wednesday. The officials, however, asserted that water levels have begun to recede in the inundated areas and focus has now shifted to prevention of outbreak of diseases. With a let up in the rainfall in Nepal reported in the past couple of days, the focus will now be more on containing the outbreak of infectious diseases through effective distribution of medical aid to people living in flood-hit areas as also those taking shelter at relief camps, an official said.
According to official figures, 46.83 lakh people in 831 panchayats under 92 blocks of 12 districts have been affected. Northeastern states on Meghalaya and Mizoram also grappled with the floods. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conard M Sangma sought the Centre's assistance as floods in West Garo Hills district and parts of Khasi Hills region have affected 1.3 lakh people in the state, officials said.
The chief minister, his deputy Prestone Tynsong and Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday night and appealed to him for assistance, an official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. A total of 159 villages with an estimated population of 1.30 lakh people have been affected by the unprecedented floods in the area this year, Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills Ram Singh said. Twenty relief camps have been set up by the district administration.
The deputy commissioner said 52 boats have been pressed into service and gratuitous relief is being given to the flood-affected people for one week. Incessant rains across Meghalaya for the last 10 days and rising waters of two rivers flooded the plains of West Garo Hills district. Rising waters of the Brahmaputra and the Jinjiram rivers, both flowing from Assam, submerged the low-lying areas of the district, an official said, adding the water level has yet not receded.
In Mizoram, over 5,000 people were lodged in relief camps and more than 4,000 people were being evacuated following floods triggered by heavy rain for the last seven days, officials said. State disaster management and rehabilitation department officials said the floods had affected 1,968 families in 205 villages, besides destroying 1,523 houses in all the eight districts of the north-eastern state. Rain-related incidents have so far claimed five lives in Mizoram.
Lunglei district in south Mizoram was the worst hit, the officials said. Over 700 houses in the low-lying areas of the district were inundated by the swollen Khawthlangtuipui river. In Uttar Pradesh, three children of a family were killed Wednesday morning when the roof of their house collapsed in Muzaffarnagar's Bilaspur village, police said. Three others members of the family were seriously injured, they said. The family was watching TV together when the incident took place.
Meanwhile, Delhi received light showers, while in Punjab, after days of heavy rains, the weather remained largely dry. The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides official figures for the city, reported 21.6 mm rains till 8.30 am. Between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm, it measured 1.2 mm precipitation. Delhi has recorded 77.6 mm rains from July 1 to July 17, which is 25 per cent less than the 30-year average of 103.2 mm, officials said.
Overall, it has received 88.8 mm precipitation against the long-term average of 168.7 mm since June 1, when the monsoon season starts -- a deficiency of 47 per cent, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data. The weatherman said light rains are expected on Thursday too. Thereafter, monsoon will become weak in the plains of northwest India, resulting in a dry spell from July 20 to 23.