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Assam flood scene grim, centre seeks report

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With nearly 300,000 people affected in the current round of floods in Assam, the centre on Thursday sought a report from the state government on the situation before providing assistance.

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sarbananda Sonowal, met union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, in New delhi on Thursday and apprised him of the flood situation in the state.2015-08-20_2343

“I have written to the chief minister (of Assam, Tarun Gogoi) asking for a report on the flood situation in the state,” Sonowal told reporters here, adding: “Once the Assam government’s report is received, the central government will provide assistance to the state.”

According to the latest flood report released on Thursday by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 296,929 people in 611 villages in the state have been affected in the current floods.

Till now, 13 districts have been hit – Dhemaji, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, Chirang, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Bongaigaon, Sivasagar, Nalbari, Sonitpur, Barpeta, Jorhat and Goalpara.

The authorities have opened 124 relief camps in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bongaigaon and Dibrugarh where nearly 84,800 people are taking shelter.

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While the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level in Jorhat and Dibrugarh districts, the Jia Bharali has crossed the danger mark in Sonitpur, the Puthimari in Kamrup, and the Beki in Barpeta.

Meanwhile, referring to the Louis Berger kickbacks scam, Sonowal said that the people of Assam would not be satisfied with the inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Gogoi.

Former Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was holding the Guwahati development department portfolio when Louis Berger was selected as consultant for the Guwahati water supply project, being implemented by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority with funds received from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The scam came to the fore after the US Department of Justice found Louis Berger guilty of paying bribes to Indian officials, including ministers, for water supply projects in Goa and Guwahati.

(IANS)

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Prompt Evacuations in Southwestern Iran After Heavy Rains

Besides heavy rains, heavy damage from the floods has been blamed on widespread disregard for safety regulations in building and road constructions near rivers.

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A general view of the flooded city of Poldokhtar in the Lorestan province, April 2, 2019. Officials have ordered mass evacuations in neighboring Khuzestan as extensive rainfall reaches the oil-rich southwestern province. VOA

Iranian authorities have ordered the evacuation of six more towns in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, which is widely inundated with floods, state TV reported Saturday.

Gholamreza Shariati, the provincial governor, told state TV that rescue teams are taking residents to nearby shelters, including three army barracks.

Evacuation orders came as a new round of rain and floods is expected.

Shariati said emergency discharges from dams and reservoirs were adding to the high floodwaters, but such measures were essential to prevent the dams from overflowing or catastrophic breaches, with river waters continuing to rise upstream from the province.

Young men were asked to remain behind to help with rescue operations.

An Iranian woman walks through a flooded street in the city of Poldokhtar in the Lorestan province, April 02, 2019.
An Iranian woman walks through a flooded street in the city of Poldokhtar in the Lorestan province, April 02, 2019. VOA

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state TV that about 400,000 people are at risk out of the province’s population of 5 million.

Eleven towns and scores of villages have been evacuated. There have been no evacuation orders for major cities, including the province’s capital of Ahvaz, which has 1.7 million residents.

There have been no reports of damage to the province’s petroleum facilities, which account for roughly 80 percent of Iran’s oil production.

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Authorities have put the number of dead at 70 people, as major flooding has hit the western half of the country, after years of drought.

Besides heavy rains, heavy damage from the floods has been blamed on widespread disregard for safety regulations in building and road constructions near rivers. (VOA)