15,000 families displaced in Meghalaya after flood



Shillong: The severe back flow of Brahmaputra river in the past three days has created havoc in the western plain belts of Meghalaya displacing more than 15,000 families and affecting more than a lakh, officials said monday.

The current wave of floods inundating the plain belt areas from Hallidayganj upto Nidanpur area was because the swelling of the Brahmaputra in Dhubri area caused a sudden back flow and stagnation of water in the entire plain belt area next to the Jingiram river since September 27, they said.

Several hundred acres of standing 'Sali' paddy cultivation, the crucial food crop of the people of the area, were completely destroyed eroding all hopes of economic recovery, West Garo Hills district deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi told PTI.

He said over one lakh people were affected by the second wave of floods hitting the low lying areas and an official initial assessment showed that destruction to households and crops was more severe this time though fewer numbers of houses are completely deluged or inundated.

Two months back, the backflow of Brahmaputra had created a similar devastation in the plain belts of Garo Hills region.

The areas receiving maximum impact of the surging river were Bhaitbari and surrounding areas with villages like Morasuti, Phershakandi, Anderkata and other surrounding villages in Rajabala, Bakshi said adding that a government-run health centre and a police outpost has also been affected by the rising water.

An advisory has also been issued to the people to take shelter and refuge in the 14 relief camps or at least to move up to the dry high land.

Gratuitous relief which include rice, dal, salt and mustard oil will be provided for five days as was decided by the ministerial delegation appointed by the Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Bakshi said.

Other relief material like tarpaulins, buckets, mugs and plastic sheets will be distributed to the worst affected villages which have already not received the assistance in the last floods and safe pit latrines would also be constructed wherever necessary.

Medical teams have also been alerted even as bleaching powder and essential medicines were provided wherever required, the official said.

Ten rescue boats have been requisitioned formally from the BSF and several others are on standby to help in the evacuation of the families stuck in their homes or not willing to vacate the ground near their homes.

The government has also pursued on long term measures for flood protection and anti erosion works and the Solartek Majhipara embankment would be repaired, the district administrator said.

In view of the damage to agricultural crops, demands were being made to waive off the KCC loans for this financial year due to the heavy loss of crucial food crops.

PTI