GUWAHATI, Aug 2 - The devastating floods under which the State is reeling since a fortnight have left a trail of destruction, rendering useless hundreds of sources of potable water, triggering a crisis of drinking water in most of the affected areas.
According to an official report compiled by the Public Health Engineering department on Monday, the floods have affected some 201 piped water supply schemes and around 7,629 tube-wells/ ring-wells.
The nature�s fury has also destroyed 6,977 individual household toilets and another 602 institutional toilets in the affected areas.
The worst-hit districts in terms of PHE infrastructure damage are Dibrugarh, Dhemaji, Jorhat, Biswanath, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Chirang and Kokrajhar.
�As per our preliminary estimate, the total damages (PHE infrastructure) could be to the tune of over Rs 20 crore. But reports are coming in. A clear picture will emerge only after the flood waters recede,� Chief Engineer (PHE) Kamal Chandra Sut told The Assam Tribune.
Admitting that the devastation had led to a water crisis in most areas, the official, however, claimed the department has been reaching out to the affected people with alternatives.
�So far, we have installed 912 new tube wells. We have also distributed 2.81 lakh chemical packets (to purify water). Each 100 gm packet of the chemical can sustain a family for three days,� Sut said.
Besides, 4.89 lakh NaDCC tablets (chlorine tablets also to purify water) have been distributed among the flood-affected people and around 2.99 lakh water pouches sent to interior places.
Despite being crippled by fund crisis and shortage of manpower at the field level, the PHE department has also constructed 185 fresh toilets and 35 bathrooms, mostly in the relief camps.
The fresh infrastructure was set up at places recommended by the respective district administrations.
Officials at the PHE said that the current wave of floods has been severe than that of last year�s.
�The floods have hit suddenly and caught many unawares,� the officials maintained.
The PHE department is facing a shortage of around 5,000 staff at the field level, mostly 3rd and 4th category personnel. There has been no recruitment of field staff since 1993, officials said. The department has sent a reminder to the State government regarding the requirement of field staff.
Overall 36 lakh people in the State have been affected by the current wave of flood.
Over 11 lakh people in 21 districts are still reeling under floodwaters.