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After Kerala deluge, India's North East faces flood warning due to unprecedented spate in China's Tsangpo; 12 killed in Nagaland

After Kerala deluge, India's North East faces flood warning due to unprecedented spate in China's Tsangpo; 12 killed in Nagaland

According to official records of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, at least 50 people have died in flood and landslide in Assam this year. According to All India Radio, at least  15,000 people have been affected by flash floods in Assam’s Golaghat and Dhemaji districts.


More than 600 hectares of crop area was severely damaged and over 1,488 people continue to stay in relief camps as low-lying areas remain inundated. Three rivers in the state — the Dhansiri, Brahmaputra and Jia Bharali — are flowing above the danger mark. If Brahmaputra swells any further following the rainfall in China, it could be especially devastating for the state.

Assam is highly flood-prone even in normal monsoon conditions. The state's river waters collect a tremendous amount of silt and other debris and raise the level of the river beds. Therefore, it becomes impossible for the main channel to cope with the vast volume of water received during the rains. Reports from Dibrugarh said the district's deputy commissioner Loya Maduri has directed the stakeholders to remain alert about the possible rising of water level of the Brahmaputra. Similar measures have also been taken in Dhemaji district, official sources said.


In Arunachal Pradesh, people living in low-lying areas like Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Sigar, Borghuli, Kongkul, Namsing and Mer, along the Siang river have been asked to remain alert as China reported that Tsangpo river, called Siang in Arunachal Pradesh, was in spate. The unusually high waves in the Siang river have created fear among the people of the two Arunachal Pradesh districts and the administration has cautioned the people to refrain from venturing into it for fishing, swimming and other activities, an official said.  Large-scale erosion was seen on the left bank of the river towards Lower Mebo of Mebo sub-division in East Siang district in the past few days and 15 houses were washed away in Seram-Ramku village, the official said.

Mebo MLA Lombo Tayeng, who is also an advisor to Chief Minister Pema Khandu, said that river water at present is "totally muddy which indicates that there might be some activities in the Chinese side". The MLA also urged upon the Centre to take up the matter with Beijing and sought flood control measures. A red alert has been hoisted for residents of Borguli, Seram, Namsing, Mer and Sigar villages on the left bank of Siang as water volume in the river is rising, he said adding it was due to large-scale siltation on the river bed.

The Chinese authorities alerted India about the unprecedented situation where Tsangpo broke a 150-year record with swollen waters and informed the Centre about a possible flood-like situation in downstream states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. According to a Chinese government report, 9020 cumecs of water was discharged into Tsangpo as observed at various stations until Wednesday.  The Tsangpo river originates from China's Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang, and then Assam, where it becomes the Brahmaputra, and later drains into the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh.

This was the first time this year that China shared the river data with India, the official said. China began sharing data from 15 May, while it started sharing data for the Sutlej river from 1 June. The sharing of data came after the two sides held talks over the issue in March this year. The data is shared twice daily until October this year.

China provides data from three hydrological stations — Nugesha, Yangcun and Nuxia, lying on the mainstream of the Brahmaputra, also known as Yarlung Zangbu by Beijing — and from the hydrological station at Tsada for the Sutlej river, known as Langqen Zangbo.

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