Rains bring Northeast India to a standstill
The Northeastern states have been receiving incessant rains for last one week. The flood situation in Assam continued to remain grave on Sunday with more than half of the districts submerged by waters of the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries. At least six persons have been killed in the floods and landslides and more than 8.5 lakh people affected so far.
The state of Tripura has also received heavy rainfall in last few days culminating into flood like situation. In Mizoram, at least 600 families have been forced to move to safer places in Lunglei district as the raging waters of Khawthlangtuipui river, also known as the Karnaphuli, and its tributaries submerged nearly 400 houses.
The entire Serhuan village (122 houses) and Tiperaghat (120) were submerged as the rain fury continued unabated, the officials said, adding at least 150 houses were submerged in Tlabung town of the district.
While a total of eight villages were affected by the floods, no information could be obtained from those along the Bangladesh border as communication lines have been badly affected, an official said. Lalhriatpuia, a resident of Tlabung, claimed that the town and the villages nearby have no power supply for the last three days as transmission lines were snapped due to landslides.
Lunglei and the other southern districts of Lawngtlai and Saiha remained cut off from the rest of the country due to roadblocks as incessant heavy rains triggered landslides, an official of the state's Public Works Department said.
After the catastrophic flood hit North-eastern states, Home Minister Amit Shah directed the NDRF and all agencies dealing with flood rescue and relief operations to remain on high alert so that they can handle any situation arising out of the natural calamity.
The directive was issued at a high-level meeting chaired by Shah and attended by top officials.
"The home minister has directed the NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force) and all officials concerned to remain on high alert to deal with any situation arising out of the floods," Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai told reporters here.
Heavy rains and floods so far affected Assam, Bihar and Meghalaya. While six people lost their lives in Assam, five died in Meghalaya and two in Bihar.
Rai said the home minister directed the central government officials to be in regular touch with the states which were affected by the floods.
"The home minister said all efforts should be made to save lives and properties in flood-hit areas," Rai said.
The meeting reviewed the rains in the country and officials briefed about the situation in Assam, Bihar and Meghalaya. "NDRF teams have already been deployed in the affected states and, if required, more teams will be sent. We are ready to provide whatever help the states will need. 24- hour control rooms have also been set up by the agencies concerned," he said.
Later, in a tweet, Shah said he had a meeting with MoS Nityanand Rai, senior MHA officials and the departments concerned on the issue of flood situation in various parts of the country. "Directed all related officials to ensure proper relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures," he tweeted.
In a statement, the Home Ministry said the India Metrological Department (IMD) informed that in the last 3-4 days, Assam and Bihar have got excess rainfall. Heavy rainfall is expected in these two states during the next 48 hours.
The director general of the NDRF said that 73 NDRF teams have been pre-positioned in vulnerable areas of flood-affected states along with all necessary equipments. These teams are in addition to the teams kept on alert at battalion headquarters and Regional Response Centers (RRC).
The NDRF teams have also rescued about 750 people in Assam and Bihar. The Central Water Commission (CWC) informed that in Assam Brahmaputra, Beki, Jiabharali, Katakhal and Barak and in Bihar Kamla, Bagmati, Mahananda, Gandak rivers are flowing in severe situation.