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Flooding in Assam and Bihar continues

Flooding in Assam. Image credit: Pradip Nemane [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]
The flooding plaguing the north of India, particularly in Assam and Bihar, is continuing at a vicious pace, with the death toll crossing 200.

At the time of writing, 209 people have died in Assam and Bihar.  Individual state reports give a higher cumulative figure, with more than 8.21 million in Bihar and more than 3.49 million in Assam, as per the states’ respective disaster management authorities — amounting to 1.7 crore overall. Bihar is bearing the brunt of deaths, with 127 people reported dead in the state. 82 fatalities have been reported in Assam. 

In Assam, eighteen districts are affected with seven facing rising water levels due to excess rainfall overflowing a hydropower reservoir in the Kurichui river in Bhutan. The Indian Army is conducting relief operations, including evacuations. Fortunately, some districts are seeing floodwaters recede but 195,159 people continue to be housed in some 833 relief camps across the state. In multiple parts of the state, the Beki, Bharmaputra, Jia Bharali, Manas, and Puthimari rivers continue to flow at dangerous levels. 

Many parts of India have witnessed floods this year, with the catastrophe in Assam and Bihar having been ongoing for much of this month and Mumbai having witnessed its worst flooding in more than a decade. In this time, the situation has deteriorated in many parts of both states whilst neighbouring areas such as Meghalaya have also been affected. 

Disaster management authorities have provided assistance to the affected and the state governments pledged ex gratia to displaced families and the families of those who have been killed. Much will need to be done to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases and other infectious conditions in the aftermath of the floods. This is particularly true of relief camps, where heavily sequestered populations offer prime opportunities for diseases to spread. It is also vital for authorities to prepare for future disasters of this nature, to ensure timely evacuation can be ensured in order to mitigate the loss of life and the suffering of those afflicted.

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