Assam flood loss may be around ₹10,000 crore: ASMDA

Floods and landslides in Assam this monsoon, one of the worst in decades, have caused damages worth nearly 10,000 crore, state officials said on Tuesday.

Since April, the state has witnessed heavy rainfall that has led to flooding in 34 of Assam’s 35 districts and landslides in 11 districts. Assam has recorded 2,063.8 mm of rainfall from March 1 till July 11, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“The scale of flooding and landslides this year in Assam has been almost unprecedented. We are still tabulating the losses suffered across the state, but it could be anywhere around 10,000 crore,” said GD Tripathi, CEO of Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).

Floods have claimed 173 lives across the northeastern state and landslides have claimed another 19 lives, taking the toll in rain-related incidents to 192 this year. Another 37 persons are missing in 13 districts, most of whom are likely dead, said an official from ASDMA.

Floods led to damage and breaches in nearly 200 embankments in the affected districts, said Tripathi. “Since parts of the state are still flooded and the monsoon season is still on, the figures are likely to change and final details will be available only around October,” he added, seeking anonymity.

According to ASDMA data, 152 revenue circles and 9,758 villages of the state were affected by floods, and since April till July, over 8.9 million residents have been impacted by flooding and landslides.

“The figures of damage and destruction this year are staggering. Till date, 20,992 houses have been fully damaged due to floods and 202,671 partially affected. Assessment of more such damage is still underway,” said Tripathi.

Floods have also washed away 53,781 livestock in the affected districts, while 240,096 hectares of cropland has been submerged, according to ASDMA. Officials are still compiling the details of the numerous roads, bridges and culverts damaged or destroyed by floodwaters.

To provide aid to affected people, 4,054 relief camps and 5,787 relief distribution centres were opened across the state by the government. ASDMA data suggest 742, 242 persons were displaced due to floods and took shelter in relief camps since April.

“Catastrophes related to floods in Assam are increasing gradually with each passing year and since 2017 there has been an increase in flooding and destruction,” said Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, a Guwahati-based independent water expert. “Climate change is one of the factors, which coupled with infrastructural interventions on the ground, has led to this scenario.”