Ravaging floods wreak havoc across India, scores dead

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Heavy rains in the last three days triggered flash floods in parts of Bihar, where 41 people have died so far and 65.37 lakh affected, and inundated large areas in Assam and north Bengal, paralysing normal life and snapping rail link to the northeast.

In Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, two separate incidents of cloudbursts claimed lives of six persons while ten, including six army personnel, went missing.

The flood situation in Assam turned very critical as 32 lakh people in 25 districts were affected and three more persons lost their lives taking the toll in the second wave of deluge in the state to 18.

In Arunachal Pradesh too, the flood situation continued to be grim in several districts with recurring landslides disrupting road traffic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the chief ministers of Bihar (Nitish Kumar) and Assam (Sarbananda Sonowal) and assured them of all support from the Centre to mitigate the situation.

An estimated 65.37 lakh people in 12 districts of Bihar have been affected by floods, with Nitish, who conducted an aerial survey of flood-hit areas, saying that Araria was the worst-hit district.

Twenty people have died in Araria, six in Sitamarhi, five in Kisanganj, three each in East Champaran, West Champaran and Darbhanga districts and one person in Madhubani, an official said.

Light to moderate rainfall occurred at many places in north Bihar while one or two places received heavy to very heavy rainfall with the local weather office predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall at one or two places in northern and southern parts of the state tomorrow.

Flood waters have engulfed areas in Kisanganj, three blocks of Purnea and one block of Katihar damaging roads.

The chief minister said heavy rains in Nepal and Bihar in last three days have led to the situation and the state government is carrying out relief operations in flooded areas on a war-footing.

He said besides the Army column (around 50 personnel) which was sent to Purnea, four teams of NDRF had arrived in Bihar yesterday and six more NDRF teams landed today to assist the state.

The Railway Board has decided to cancel all incoming trains from various parts of the country towards northeast region, which were to reach either Katihar or Malda town till 10 am tomorrow, North Eastern Frontier Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.

According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) the toll in this year’s flood-related incidents in the state climbed to 102. Till yesterday, 22.5 lakh people were hit by the latest wave of flood across 21 districts.

Dhubri is the worst affected with 7.79 lakh people affected by the deluge, followed by Morigaon where 3.83 lakh people have been hit.

Currently, the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns.

The second wave of floods in Assam have submerged rhino habitats in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary forcing the animals there to take shelter on highlands.

According to a KNP official over 85 per cent of the 430 sq km Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was inundated.

Around 60,000 people in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal have been affected by floods with all major rivers in north Bengal flowing above their danger marks.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We are concerned about the flood situation across the country.

Earlier floods had affected south Bengal. Now north Bengal was also affected. We are monitoring the situation round-the-clock for relief and rescue operations.”

Government sources said Phulahar river had crossed its danger level, while 20 villages, mostly under Harischandrapur Block-II and Ratua block in Malda district were inundated.

Situation was similar at Bhutni Island, while erosion was was taking place at Pardeonapur village near Farakka also in Malda district.

Eastern Railway chief public relations officer R Mahapatra told PTI that a number of trains originating in the state were today cancelled as water is flowing above the railway tracks in North East Frontier Railway jurisdiction.

In Arunachal Pradesh, the remote Anjaw district remained cut off from rest of the state for the past seven days as the main road to the district from Lohit are blocked in several places by landslides triggered by incessant rains, officials said.

Food shortage was looming large in the district following disruption in surface communication. Intra-district road communications were also badly affected due to landslides.

In Uttarakhand, the swirling waters of Mangti Nullah, which was in spate after heavy rains, hit some shops and three Armys tents near Tawaghat in Dharchula sub division. Two bodies from the spot while six Army personnel are missing.

The other incident occurred at Malpa, where an overflowing rivulet swept away four persons. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the rain-hit areas of Dharchula along with state Finance Minister Prakash Pant.

Rawat said relief and rescue operations have been launched on a war footing by the Army, NDRF and SDRF personnel while people living in areas along the banks of rivers and rivulets and locations prone to landslides were being evacuated to safety.

The road from Malpa to Gal and the Lamadi-Chudi road was badly affected by landslides, Pant said, adding a large number of people, including devotees, who were stranded in the Vyas Valley were being evacuated to safety by copters.

In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took an aerial survey of the flood-affected Gonda, Shrawasti, Balrampur and Bahraich districts and said district administrations have been directed to ensure proper arrangement of relief material.

However, the national capital witnessed mainly clear skies with the maximum temperature settling at 35.8 degrees Celsius, two notches above the season’s average, while the minimum was pegged at 27.4 degrees Celsius.

In Punjab and Haryana, which witnessed rains last night, maximum temperatures stayed close to normal levels with Chandigarh, the joint capital of both the states, recording a high of 35.2 degrees Celsius and gauging 0.4 mm of precipitation.

Many places in Odisha received heavy rains with Malkangiri and Mandira Dam in Sundargarh district gauging 11 cm each, followed by Rayagada 9 cm and Daspalla in Nayagarh district 8 cm of precipitation.

Heavy rains occurred at isolated places in Chhattisgarh while parts of Vidarbha region and Madhya Pradesh witnessing moderate rainfall, but there was no significant change in maximum and minimum temperatures.

Akola in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region recorded a maximum temperature of 34.3 degrees Celsius and Damoh in Madhya Pradesh registered the lowest minimum of 19 degrees Celsius.

Rainfall also occurred at most places in Telangana and parts of many coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, coastal Karnataka and Kerala.


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