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Northeast floods render 75,000 homeless, relief stepped up

Sunday July 01, 2012 09:00:24 PM, IANS

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Assam floods toll 18 dead, 2,500 train passengers still stranded

Heavy rainfall in Assam has killed at least 18 people till Thursday, even as over 2,500 passengers in four trains continued to be stranded for the third day as heavy landslides blocked tracks and cut off parts of southern Assam. 

Shillong/New Delhi: Units of the Indian Army have stepped up relief efforts in the northeastern states after swollen rivers caused devastation in the region, leaving over 75,000 people homeless Sunday in Meghalaya alone, an official said.

The swollen Brahmaputra and Jingiram rivers submerged whole villages in Meghalaya. More than 15,000 houses went under a sea of floodwater, West Garo Hills' district commissioner Pravin Bakshi told IANS.

The Jinjiram, one the major rivers in Garo Hills, caused havoc after it breached a major embankment, flooding low-lying areas.

No loss of life has been reported so far.

The district administration has sought boats to evacuate people from the flooded region with the help of civil defence and Home Guards.

Bakshi said that 15 camps have been set up to accommodate the displaced people.

A total of 122 relief and rescue teams have been deployed in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where overflowing Brahmaputra and its tributaries have caused havoc, army spokesperson Veerendra Singh said in Delhi.

Relief operations are on in Sonitpur, Kamrup, Barpeta, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Dhemaji, Baksa, Nalbari and Darrang areas in Assam, and Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh, according to Singh.

The army teams, he said, were using 122 boats and outboard motors and 540 life jackets to rescue thousands of stranded people.

So far, around 3,500 people have been rescued, while over a hundred injured have been given medical aid.

Besides 180 food packets, around 3,000 kg of ration provided by the civil administration have been distributed among people stranded in isolated areas.

Helicopters are also being used for the relief work.

"The army reconnaissance teams with the help of civil administration are identifying all affected areas to provide immediate relief to the people," Singh said.




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