GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said the flood in Silchar was a man-made disaster even as he conceded not all the marooned could be reached with relief material.
“It was a man-made disaster in Silchar. If the embankment at Betukandi were not breached, this would not have happened,” Sarma told journalists after visiting the southern Assam town on Sunday.
He took a ride in a rubber boat of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and waded through flooded streets to assess the situation. After about a week, the floodwater has started to recede. It had risen up to 12 feet in some areas.
Wading through the flooded streets of Silchar to see the extent of devastation caused by the ongoing floods and interact with the locals there. pic.twitter.com/wKPr2njqP9— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 26, 2022
“It is a big lesson for all of us. The next time there is a flood, we have to deploy policemen to the embankment so that nobody can breach it,” Sarma said.
He said he had instructed officials to file a case with the police. The breach of embankment will be probed and the culprits will face law. Lapses, if any, on the part of officials will also be investigated, he warned.
The CM said the District Disaster Management Authority of Cachar had issued an advisory but many residents did not take it seriously as the town had never seen such a flood.
He said he had passed instructions to officials and agencies, engaged in the distribution of relief, to maximise their reach to ensure that all the affected could be taken care of. The town has a population of 1.5 lakh.
“We will help people as much as we can. After going back, I will check if we can dispatch vegetables to the town from Guwahati,” Sarma said.
There is no water supply. The biggest problem for the denizens has been the lack of drinking water. Many of them are surviving on floodwater. They boil it and drink.
Internet was down for a few days. Sarma said equipment of some Internet service providers were brought with a special aircraft under his personal monitoring and coordination. He said 10 engineers of the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited were brought in to restore power service.
“Many other districts are reeling under flood but we brought officers from there to tackle the situation in Silchar. We have done all that we could,” Sarma said.
Meanwhile, the flood has been severe on the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre. It has been greatly affected by waterlogging, large-scale power outage, network loss and food and drinking water crisis.
Till Saturday, 121 people lost their lives in the rain-induced floods and landslides in Assam. Over 25 lakh others in 27 of the state’s 35 districts are still affected.
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