Silchar: Silchar, the gateway to Assam’s Barak Valley, is in the grip of severe floods with the town remaining submerged since Monday, and people facing acute shortage of food and drinking water, besides frequent power outages.
Silchar Lok Sabha MP Rajdeep Roy on Thursday said this was the worst flood that Silchar had witnessed in the last seven decades.
Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi, the three districts of Barak Valley, are reeling under severe floods with the Barak and Kushiyara rivers flowing above the danger level, affecting over six lakh people — 2,32,002 in 565 villages in Cachar district and 2,81,271 in 469 villages of Karimganj.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made an aerial survey of the marooned town, which has a population of approximately three lakh, visited a few relief camps, and reviewed the prevailing flood situation with public representatives and district officials on Thursday.
Ten-year-old Shreya Das of Silchar town was relieved last week when the Cachar district administration had announced the closure of schools following incessant rainfall, as she would not have to wade through water-logged streets.
Little did the Class 4 student know of the harrowing time that her family would experience over the next few days.
Shreya’s house, along with that of around two lakh people in most areas of the town, was submerged following the damage of a dyke at Betkundi.
The dyke breached on Sunday following which water entered the homes of people, disrupting power and water supplies and the flood-affected population waiting to be evacuated.
“For four days, we are without power and clean drinking water and flood waters have entered the ground floor of my house, forcing us to move to the upper floors. At least, we are fortunate to have a triple-storied house and we could move to safety within the house,” school teacher Mandira Deb of the College Road area said.
The water level of River Barak was already flowing above the danger level since the rains but with the breach in the dyke, it gushed into the low-lying areas of Sonai Road, Rangirkhari, Link Road, Ambicapatty, Ashram Road, College Road, Public School Road, Fatakbazar, Betkundi and other areas of the town.
However, retired government employee Bireswar Nath of the Rangirkhari area was not so lucky and he along with his family of five remained inside the flooded home for over 24 hours.
They were evacuated to a relief camp, set up in a school, that too under water.
In Cachar, 33,766 people have taken shelter in 258 relief camps while in Karimganj 20,595 inmates are in 103 relief camps.
Monica Acharjee, a 32-year-old with severe breathing problems, aggravated by the trauma of flood waters entering her home in Ghaniwala area, was unable to reach the hospital, but the local ward commissioner reached out to the Deputy Commissioner who sent a rescue team and evacuated her to an emergency ward of a private hospital.
The Silchar MP on Thursday posted pictures on social media of the road outside his home in Bilpara area, which is completely submerged with only the upper portion of vehicles in sight.
Most of the residents of the town are facing an acute shortage of food and drinking water with the Indian Air Force helicopters dropping food packets from Thursday.
Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli requested people not to go to roof tops for food packets on hearing the sound of the helicopters.
“Airdropping can be done only on flat roof landings and not on sloped tin roofs as the packets might blow away. I urge those with flat roofs to share the food packets and drinking water bottles with their neighbours”, she said.
“Nearly three lakh people, including our officers, staff, traders, drivers, and relief workers have been affected by the flood and as such we are unable to give optimum facilities.”
“Despite the problem of reaching out to the suffering people with relief, we have so far distributed 40,000 litres of water, 24,000 milk cans, 10,000 quintals of rice, pulses, and oil,” Jalli said.
“The district administration is receiving requests for food, medicines, and water, and we are trying our best to provide these to the people.”
The Cachar deputy commissioner said massive rescue evacuation and relief operations were continuing round the clock in the worst affected areas of Silchar town to help the marooned people move to safer places.
“We are receiving many requests which we are trying to address immediately but in some areas, the water currents are still very strong and we are unable to reach,” Jalli said.
She appealed to people to be patient and extend maximum support to the NDRF, SDRF personnel, and others who are engaged round the clock in evacuating the marooned people.
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