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Assam: 4 killed, 50,000 affected after thunderstorm and heavy rainfall

4-year-old dead, 2 missing after boat capsized in Brahmaputra river

GUWAHATI-   At least  four persons have been killed and over 50,000 affected after a thunderstorm wreaked havoc in Assam, officials said on Monday. According to a state bulletin, the storm affected across 919 villages in 22 districts, causing damage to 14,633 houses and over 10 hectares of cropland.

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The storm, accompanied by heavy rainfall, swept through various parts of the state on Sunday evening, causing widespread destruction by uprooting trees, and electric poles, and damaging homes, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) CEO Gyanendra Dev Tripathi told PTI.

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Among the casualties, a woman named Sakhi Begum Laskar (30) from Sonai, Cachar, lost her life amid the storm, as confirmed by the ASDMA. Additionally, incidents of lightning claimed the lives of Pintu Chauhan (17) from Donka in West Karbi Anglong and Ruparam Basumatary (46) from Mazbat in Udalguri.

Six others sustained injuries from lightning strikes and were rushed to Silchar Medical College and Hospital for treatment.

Furthermore, the loss of livestock was recorded, with three cows perishing. The storm’s impact extended to various infrastructures such as huts, schools, shops, and Anganwadi centers, with numerous vehicles damaged due to fallen trees.

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An official confirmed that hundreds of visitors were struck inside Garbhanga Reserve Forest near Guwahati till the early hours as uprooted trees blocked the entire road.

“The SDRF and district administration carried out rescue operations till around 3 am and cleared the road. Hundreds of people were visiting the forest as it was a Sunday,” Tripathi said.

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Due to uprooted trees and electric poles, many roads remained blocked until this morning, making it extremely difficult for people to get to their destinations.

A four-year-old boy died and two others went missing after a single-engine boat carrying 15 people onboard capsized in the Brahmaputra river in Western Assam’s South Salmara-Mankachar district during a storm.

The area, close to the Indo-Bangladesh border, comprises several riverine islands, and small boats are the primary mode of transport from one point to another.

Security sources said, “Soon after the incident, a search operation was launched by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and 15 of the 18 passengers were rescued.”

The body of the child, identified as Shamim Hussain, was found early Monday.The two missing individuals have been identified as Kovad Hussain (65) and Ismail Hussain (8), according to the SDRF.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah reached out to Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to assess the situation and assured full support. Similar conversations were held with the chief ministers of West Bengal and Manipur, offering assistance to address the severe losses incurred by the storms.

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The storm also damaged the Guwahati airport’s terminal building, resulting in a temporary halt to operations and the diversion of six flights to alternative locations.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted continued rainfall and thunderstorm activity in Northeast India until April 7. On Sunday, the IMD issued an ‘Orange Alert’, predicting “heavy to very heavy” rainfall across several northeastern states over the next five days.

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