A monsoon flood in Assam has inundated at least 17 districts in the north-east state and affected over four lakh people, officials said. The Brahmaputra river – one of the largest rivers in the world that cuts through Assam’s biggest city Guwahati – and five other rivers are flowing above the danger mark, officials said.
Ferry services across Assam have been stopped after the weather office forecast more rain this weekend.
In neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, two schoolchildren died after they got buried in a landslide in Tawang, close to the border with China, taking the number of dead to six since Tuesday when heavy rain started in the region.
Dhemaji and Lakhimpur in the tea-rich Upper Assam, and Bongaigaon and Barpeta in Lower Assam are the worth hit.
Officials said floodwaters from the higher areas will flow towards the valleys, worsening the situation in Lower Assam areas.
Bhutan has also issued a flood warning for areas in the foothills.
Among the 17 districts, Barpeta is the worst-affected with over 85,000 people seeking shelter, said the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, according to news agency PTI.
Floodwaters also entered Kaziranga National Park in Upper Assam – home of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros – forcing the animals to take shelter on platforms constructed for their safety during flood, officials said.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke with the deputy commissioners of the affected districts via video conference on Thursday to assess the situation. He directed the deputy commissioners to set up round-the-clock control rooms and respond to people’s calls for help during emergency.
Amid the flood, Assam is also grappling with rising cases of encephalitis and the state government has cancelled the leaves of all health department employees till the end of September to deal with the outbreak.
Nine districts in Assam are most vulnerable to encephalitis. Since 2013, over 700 people have died of the disease.
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