Gangtok / Guwahati: Floods and landslides, triggered by torrential rains, have killed at least 21 people in Sikkim and left lakhs of people homeless in Assam, official sources said on Sunday.
|(Above and below) Banana rafts being used to ferry flood affected people to safety in Lachi Bishnupur village of Assam
In Sikkim, landslides swept away houses, buildings, roads, bridges and everything else in their way, in the northern part of the state. A labour camp at a hydro power project site was also washed away in flash floods.
The dead include four jawans from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and 12 junior officers from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). Other victims were casual labourers, the officials said, adding that eight others were still missing.
Most of the casualties were reported from Rangma range. Landslides were caused by incessant rains for the past three days, Deputy Commissioner of North Sikkim district T W Khangsherpa said. There were about nine landslides blocking the main road between Chungthang and Mangan in the district, he said.
In the early hours on Sunday, another landslide was reported near Mangan, the district headquarter town of North Sikkim. Officials said the landslip blocked NH31-A, leaving the northern side of the Himalayan state cut off from the rest of the country.
The state government has declared a state of alert along the establishments on river banks in North Sikkim, a government press release said. Meanwhile, Army and IAF personnel have launched rescue operations in affected areas, said state officials.
Situation grim in Assam
The flood situation in Assam deteriorated on Sunday as water from swollen rivers continued to overrun several areas in 15 districts, displacing over 8,00,000 people. According to official sources, large parts of Dibru-Saikhowa and Kaziranga National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary are under water.
Officials said that seven people have died in floods in various places during the past one week. Over 700 villages have also been submerged in the affected areas, an official said.
The government has sounded an alert as water level in most of the rivers in the state continue to rise owing to torrential rains in some upper Assam districts as well as in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.
The flood situation is more serious in Kamrup, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Sonitpur districts, said the officials.
A total of nearly 100 teams, comprising 16 from the National Disaster Response Force, 60 from the Army and 18 belonging to the state disaster response force, have stepped up relief and rescue efforts in some of the worst affected districts.
Vast swathes of Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park have also been submerged by floodwater, wildilfe officials said.
At least 15 anti-poaching camps of Kaziranga National Park have been inundated, forcing the security staff to shift to boats in order to keep an eye on poachers, they said.
Officials from Dispur said that Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level mark in Kaziranga.