As Siang swells, 19 airlifted from marooned areas in Arunachal, 200 rescued in Assam

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As many as 19 people were today airlifted by the Air Force from a flooded Arunachal Pradesh island, while over 200 others were rescued by disaster response teams from Assam’s Dhemaji district as the Siang river, originating from China, continued to swell due to heavy rains. Siang river, known as Tsangpo in China, flows downstream upon entering India to join the Brahmaputra.

The 19 rescued people - cattle-herders from Assam - were stranded for over 24 hours in East Siang district of Arunachal. The IAF operation followed a request by the district administration, East Siang DC Tamiyo Tatak said.

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Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu personally monitored the evacuation operation from Itanagar, the DC said, adding Lok Sabha MP Ninong Ering and Pasighat West MLA Tatung Jamoh along with police and locals helped in rescuing the cattle.

The other 200, who were rescued by personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), had gone to Dhemaji, near East Siang, for farming activities.

All of them, including children, have been brought to safety, sources in the Dhemaji administration said.

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According to a Chinese government report, Tsangpo was in spate because of heavy rains. The various GD (gauge and discharge) stations on the Tsangpo had observed a discharge of 9,020 cumec water on Wednesday, officials there said.

The administrations of East Siang and bordering Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Dibrugarh in Assam had sounded alerts yesterday following rise in water level in Siang.

Over 1,000 families living along the river have been affected at Mebo area in East Siang, Arunachal MLA Lombo Tayeng said.

Informing that 15 families of Seram-Ramku village lost their homes as the flood water came gushing in, he said most of the inhabitants on the left bank had been rescued to safe places.

Tayeng said Rs 1 lakh each will be provided for their rehabilitation.

He also sent a report to Union Minister Kiren Rijiju for needful action, besides requesting him to facilitate visit of an inter-ministerial central team to assess the situation.

In a circular, the East Siang DC cautioned people against venturing into Siang River for fishing and swimming.

According to sources in the Central Water Commission (CWC), the Siang river has become turbid.

In Lakhimpur and Dibrugarh districts of Assam, the administrations have taken precautionary measures in view of a CWC warning, which predicted an “unprecedented” rise in the water level of Brahmaputra, official sources said.

The Inland Waterways department has been asked to keep boats ready for rescuing people from riverine and other vulnerable areas, if need be, they said.

The administration has also instructed its officials to keep the army, paramilitary forces ready to reach out to the marooned people and stock food and medicine supplies for emergency situations.

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