Guwahati, July 5: It's an annual ritual for hundreds of villages in Assam. As every year flood inundates large parts of the state, residents of villages are forced to leave their homes and hearths and literally turn into "nomads".
This year is no different. It has been more than a month since the state is reeling under floods. According to latest reports, flood-related deaths have reached 19 on Tuesday.
In the past 24 hours, two persons--one an eight-year-old girl and a young fisherman--were washed away by floods in Assam.
Along with death, comes destruction due to floods. Thousands of people are currently staying in various relief camps set up by the administration as their homes are either submerged or washed away by flood waters. Many are also taking shelter on roads and highways.
"We have a house to live in and sufficient foodgrains for the year in the granary but we are leading a nomadic life by the wayside with our family members," said Dulal Baruah, 55, of Dighali village under Meleki panchayat in Dhakuakhana subdivision of Lakhimpur district. Water from the Jiadhal and the Kumatia have inundated at least 15 villages in the subdivision.
According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), more than 3.8 lakh people were affected in the latest wave of flood in Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Golaghat, Cachar, Dhemaji, Biswanath, Karimganj, Sonitpur, Hojai, Majuli, Barpeta, Nagaon and Nalbari districts.
At present, 834 villages were under water and over 19,000 hectares of crop area were damaged, the ASDMA said. Over 2.05 lakh people were hit in the worst-affected Karimganj district, followed by Lakhimpur with more than 77,800 sufferers.
The authorities are running 148 relief camps and distribution centres in eight districts, where 24,675 persons are currently taking shelter.
Due to the flood waters, many roads, embankments and bridges have been damaged in Barpeta, Biswanath, Golaghat, Cachar, Karimganj, Morigaon, Baksa and Nalbari, the ASDMA said.
Currently, the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at Nimatighat in Jorhat and at Tezpur in Sonitpur.
Other rivers like Dikhow at Sivasagar town in Sivasagar district, Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali at NT Road Crossing in Sonitpur, Barak at Badarpurghat in Karimganj and Kushiyara at Karimganj town in Karimganj are flowing above the danger marks.
Meanwhile, Inland Water Transport Director Bharat Bhushan Choudhury said, ferry services on Brahmaputra in the state capital have been suspended until further order.
"Due to rising water level and heavy current of Brahmaputra as well as submerged logs and other materials, all the eight Guwahati-based ferry services have been suspended," he said.