The flood situation in Assam remained critical on Monday as nearly 43 lakh people in 33 districts remained affected and death toll rose to 73.
The new deaths included two policemen, including an officer in-charge of a police station in the Nagaon district who had gone to help stranded people but were swept away. Their bodies were fished out in the early hours of Monday, officials said.
Assam has been reeling under devastating floods for the past one week with 127 revenue circles and 5,137 villages affected, according to a bulletin of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).
Nearly 1.90 lakh people have taken shelter in 744 relief camps. Relief materials have been distributed from 403 temporary centres to affected people who have not moved into the camps.
About 30,000 people have been evacuated so far by the NDRF, SDRF, police and other agencies, officials said.
According to the Central Water Commission bulletin, Kopili river is flowing above the high flood level at Kampur in Nagaon district, Brahmaputra at Nimatighat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Kamrup, Goalpara and Dhubri. Subansiri, Puthimari, Pagladia, Manas, Beki Barak and Kushiara rivers are flowing above their danger levels.
Flooding was reported from the urban areas of Barpeta, Cachar, Darrang, Goalpara, Kamrup (Metro), Karimganj, Nalbari and Udalguri, while landslides trigerred by heavy rains have taken place at Cachar, Dima-Hasao, Goalpara, Hailakandi, Kamrup (M) and Karimganj districts during the past 24 hours, the bulletin said.
In Kaziranga National Park (KNP) eight animals —seven hog deers and a leopard— have died due to drowning and vehicle hit. Ten others, including eight hog deers and a python, have been rescued by forest officials, KNP official said.
After speaking to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya's Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said an inter-ministerial Central team will visit the flood-affected areas of the two states to assess the damage.
Sarma directed air dropping of food and other relief materials in areas where there is heavy inundation, officials said. He gave the direction after a review meeting with his cabinet colleagues and senior district officers during the day. He directed that top priority must be given to relief and rescue operations and there should be no delay citing procedural rules.
He said, "Airdropping of relief materials must be done in areas where there is heavy flooding and army, NDRF or SDRF boats have not been able to reach."
Sarma said that for the next few days, the district officials should not concern themselves with procedural rules but concentrate on providing relief to the affected people.
He said, "If certain areas are not covered in the relief manual, we will ensure that they are covered under State-Owned Priority Development schemes and CM's Relief Fund."
Sarma directed deputy commissioners to keep ready static teams of the health department and ensure daily visits of doctors to relief camps set up for the flood-affected. Ambulances should be kept on the standby to shift patients who are in serious condition to nearby hospitals.
He said night shifts must be augmented in all district hospitals and special care must be taken of senior citizens, women and children. He directed the authorities to plan circle-wise mega health camps with the help of the nine medical colleges in the state to ensure that post-flood diseases are effectively dealt with.
He also directed the deputy commissioners of the districts to start an immediate assessment of damages as soon as the flood waters begin to recede and complete the work at the earliest.
All guardian ministers and secretaries, except those required for urgent flood-related work at the state secretariat, should be in their respective district headquarters to oversee flood relief work, he added.
(With PTI inputs)