As Assam grapples with a steep spike in the number of coronavirus cases with the return of stranded migrants, the state is now hit by its first wave of flash floods this year. On Monday, Assam crossed the mark of 500 COVID-19 cases at a time when flash floods affected people in five districts following moderate to heavy rain as an after-effect of Cyclone Amphan.
More than 30,000 people are facing floods in the districts of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Darrang and Goalpara. 127 villages have been affected and 579 hectres of crop land is already under water, the government said.
This comes on a day when the highest single-day spike of 156 cases took its COVID-19 tally to 548, including 62 who have recovered and four people have died.
Goalpara is the worst affected district by the floods with close to 23,000 people in 89 villages affected. Thirty-three relief camps have also been opened up in the district, where over 8,000 people have been shifted, according to the flood report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that with a threat of massive flood during the coronavirus crisis looming large, it would be wiser for the people who are stuck outside the state to return by June 10, so that the state shifts its focus to flood preparations.
“Several people are expected in next seven days. Health authorities in coordination with other departments are working for testing and quarantine facilities. We will able to deal with increase in the number of inbound people. We want the people should come and chapter should be closed as early as possible because you go on lingering things will linger, we will have floods. From Assam's point of view, we want to let the people whoever wants to come before June 10. Than we have 14 days (quarantine) and by 30th June we will able to close this chapter. In July, we have floods. We do not want to do any rationing. If the airline wants to bring more people, let them bring, however, with prior information,” Mr Sarma told reporters on Monday.