GUWAHATI, April 29 - At a time when Assam is fighting the coronavirus pandemic along with the rest of the country and other parts of the globe, frequent storms are creating havoc in the State and according to an assessment, more than three lakh people have so far been affected this year, while a number of Government buildings have also been damaged.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that almost all parts of the State have been affected by frequent storms since January and this year, there has been a spike in the number of storms in the month of April. Normally, the State faces sporadic storms right from January to June and the intensity of it increases in April. This year too, the State faced sporadic storms from January but the incidents increased sharply this month, leading to destruction of a number of houses.
Sources said that according to records available, almost every district faced storms this month and eight persons lost their lives. Of those, two persons died when they went for fishing during a storm. The people living near the rivers go out in country boats for fishing and sometimes they are caught in storms. But normally, such people manage to return to safety when the weather condition deteriorates, but this year, a few such accidents were reported and one such accident resulted in the death of two persons, sources added.
The extent of damages in different districts is being ascertained but according to preliminary reports, more than 80,000 houses have been fully or partially damaged. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has received 89 reports from the districts about storm damages and according to preliminary assessment, more than 3.20 lakh people have been affected.
The affected people have been provided relief as per the norms of the State Disaster Response Fund. Funds were made available to the Deputy Commissioners in advance and payments have already been made from the available funds. The grants were provided as per the guidelines prescribed by the Government of India, sources said.
Sources said that a number of Government buildings including school buildings, Anganwadi centres, gaon panchayat office etc have also been partially damaged and work to repair the same is likely to start soon. Electric poles were uprooted in different parts of the State, leading to disruption of power supply, while, uprooting of trees also created problems. Reports of livestock loss were also received from different parts of the State.
Meanwhile, the SDMA started online registration of people who are willing to serve as volunteers to assist the administration at the time of natural calamities and more than 14,000 people have registered, which is a positive development, sources said.