Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee | Jun 16, 2018 | 6 min read
Over four lakh affected as heavy rains trigger floods, landslides in Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram
By Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee, Syed Sajjad Ali and Armstrong Chanambam
Manipur/ Silchar/Tripura: Torrential rains, landslides and flash floods wreaked havoc in several parts of the northeast, including Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram, taking the death toll to 12.
More than 36,000 people were rescued from flood-affected regions of Assam and Tripura alone. Erratic power and water supply have also forced many schools and governments offices to remain closed. A number of embankments have caved in at various places as several rivers were in spate and flowing above danger levels.
At least 55,000 people were displaced in the Imphal West district alone as the valley remained inundated under floodwaters. The state disaster response force (SDRF) has opened 44 relief camps across the district. Pravin Singh, district commissioner, said, “We have provided all necessary commodities in the camps. The situation this year has been particularly grim. Around 106 of the total 176 villages in Imphal West have been reeling under knee-deep waters. Nearly 12,000 households have been affected.”
Some of the worst-hit areas in the district are Wangoi, Lamphel, Iroishemba, Lamsang, Patsoi and Konthoujam. Singh also informed that 100 quintals of rice, 330 quintals of dal and 259 litres of edible oil have been distributed. Efforts were also on to provide mosquito nets, candles and potable drinking water to those affected.
Authorities also said that the national highway connecting Manipur with southern Assam’s Barak Valley was cut off following mudslides.
At least five people were reported dead and more than 1.5 lakh affected in 350 villages of Biswanath, Karbi Anglong West and Karbi Anglong East, Golaghat, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts. The swelling Difolu river has submerged National Highway-37 in Golaghat district, disrupting vehicular traffic.
With several parts of the state receiving fresh showers in the past 24 hours, some more areas of Barak Valley were reported inundated. The situation in Karimganj especially remained grim. According to official sources, six rivers in the valley were precariously flowing above danger levels. According to data on Sunday afternoon, the water level of Longai river was recorded at 23.14m while its danger-level is 22m. Similarly, Singla river crossed its danger level of 17.98m to reach 18.16m. Kushiara river, with a danger level of 14.94m, was marked at 16.42m.
Speaking to Firstpost, Dhrubajyoti Deb, additional deputy commissioner of Karimganj, said, “Heavy downpour for the past three days have drowned several villages in the district, particularly in Patharkandi where we have set up 55 relief camps. Rescue operations are being conducted by the SDRF.”
Some of the badly-affected areas in Patharkandi are Nayadahar, (where a river embankment had caved in recently), Jherjheri, Bazaricherra, Lowairpoa and Kabaribond.
According to a recently released bulletin by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), around 82,225 people have been affected in the first wave of floods that hit Hailakandi. As per data on Sunday afternoon, the Katakhal river here was marked at 22.12m as it crossed its danger level of 20.27m. The Dhaleshwari’s water has breached its danger mark of 28.05m to reach 31.75m. The worst-affected villages in Hailakandi include Sudarshanpur, Nimaichandpur, Dholai-Molai and Konkonbasti. With several highways remaining underwater, road connectivity between Hailakandi and Mizoram has also been snapped. Officials also said 1,642 hectares of cropland have been damaged.
Hailakandi deputy commissioner Adil Khan said, “The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and SDRF personnel have evacuated 271 people stranded in the floods. Eleven roads are submerged across the district, disrupting surface communication to various parts of the state.”
State environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya toured different flood-hit areas on Thursday to take stock of the situation. Hailakandi legislator Anowar Hussain Laskar had also visited affected areas under his constituency and supervised relief operations.
In Cachar district, the Barak was flowing on Sunday at 20.86m while its danger-level stood at 19.83m. Some of the affected areas in the district are Borkhola, Katigorah and Sonai. Shamim Ahmed Laskar, district project officer of District Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), Cachar, said, “A total of 15 relief camps (10 in Silchar Sadar circle and five in Katigorah) have been set up. Around 493 hectares of arable lands have been inundated in Cachar.”
Recurrent landslides since Wednesday between Malidhar and Sonapur, on the National Highway 6, have disrupted traffic movement between Barak Valley and Shillong/Guwahati. Mudslides and tunnel washouts have also temporarily suspended railway services in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section, snapping connectivity with Tripura.
Assam water resources minister Keshab Mahanta visited some of the flood-affected areas in Barak Valley and reviewed the situation on Sunday.
With the rain-fed Khowai river inundating fresh areas, the situation in Tripura deteriorated on Saturday. The death toll has already risen to four in the past two days and around 26,000 were reported affected. Seven of its eight districts were affected, with the situation in Unakoti being the worst. Government sources said 180 relief camps have been set up to provide shelter to as many as 6,054 families.
The state government has sought assistance of the Army and the NDRF to evacuate people from submerged areas. Besides Unakoti, some of the other severely affected regions were South Tripura, Dhalai, North Tripura, Gomati and a few West Tripura districts.
“Chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb spoke with Union home minister Rajnath Singh for immediate rescue operations by the Army. He did an aerial survey of Kailashahar, the Unakoti district headquarter,” said Sanjay Kumar Mishra, a senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
In view of the flood situation, BJP national president Amit Shah was also advised to cancel his visit to the state on June 18.
More than 1,066 families were reported affected in the state. Government sources said that water levels in Tlawng and Langkaih rivers have started receding. The Aizawl to Lunglei (via Thenzawl) road meanwhile remained blocked at Mualthuam village in Lunglei district for a few hours after the Public Works Department (PWD) officials cleared a massive landslide near Ramlaitui.
Some of the worst-hit villages were Lunglei district’s Tlabung town and its surrounding villages such as Lamthai, Tipperaghat and Serhuan. Around 700 families in these regions were shifted to safer places after their homes were inundated by the flooding Chhimtuipui river along the Mizoram-Bangladesh border.
(Authors are freelance writers and members of 101reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters)
More stories published under