Gangtok/Guwahati: Landslides triggered by heavy rains claimed 27 lives, including those of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel in Sikkim, even as the flood situation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh deteriorated with vast areas being inundated by rising waters.
Officials on Sunday said in Gangtok that at least 21 bodies, including those of the ITBP and the BRO personnel, were found while several others were missing following flash floods and landslides in remote areas of North Sikkim.
Army and Indian Air Force personnel have launched rescue operations.
The dead include four from the ITBP, two of their family members, and 12 junior officers from the BRO. Other victims were casual labourers, they said. Most of the casualties were reported from Rangma range.
The landslides were caused by the heavy rains since 19 September, deputy commissioner, north district, T.W. Khangsherpa said, adding that about nine landslides had blocked the main road between Chungthang and Mangan in the district.
In Assam, the flood situation deteriorated with 15 districts being affected. Large parts of the Dibru-Saikhowa and Kaziranga National Parks and the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary have been submerged. Five deaths have been reported, officials said in Guwahati.
The surging waters of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries have affected around half a million people in Dibrugarh, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Golaghat, Morigaon, Dhemaji, Kamrup (rural), Lakhimpur, Baksa, Barpeta, Jorhat, Nalbari, Sibsagar and Udalguri districts.
Troops of the Tezpur-headquartered Gajraj Corps swung into action in flood-hit Sonitpur district of central Assam and rescued around 1,500 civilians in the past four-five days. The IAF also dropped 2.4 tonnes of relief material.
In Sonitpur district, the army and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were assisting the district administration in rescue and relief operations, pressing into service 10 special boats where road communication has been snapped by the deluge, district deputy commissioner Tapan Chandra Sarma said.
Tinsukia district administration has airlifted 100 marooned people in waterlogged Sadiya subdivision’s Paanch Mile area and army helicopters were airdropping food items there.
Incessant rains in Arunachal Pradesh, the Bhutan foothills and in Assam for the last 15 days have caused the Brahmaputra and its tributaries to rise above the danger level in most places and breach river dykes, embankments and overflow into human habitats and farm land.
More than 200,000 people have been affected in the fresh wave of floods in five districts of Arunachal Pradesh with the majority of the rivers and tributaries flowing over the danger mark on Sunday, officials said in Itanagar.
Meanwhile, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi assured Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki that the centre would soon send a team to take stock of the damage caused by floods in the state.
Gandhi, during a meeting with the chief minister on Saturday, said the centre was aware of the worsening flood situation in the state and assured all possible help. PTI