The death toll in the recent flash floods and landslides in Meghalaya has risen to 55 with the recovery of three more bodies, even as the flood waters are slowly receding in some areas, officials said Monday.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Monday started ground-zero inspection on the flood-hit areas to assess the damage caused by the floods in the plain belt areas of Garo Hills.
He directed the deputy commissioners to probe into the complaints of the flood victims on the poor distribution of relief materials. Earlier, Sangma had conducted aerial survey on the flood situation.
More than two lakh people were affected by the flood waters which have submerged at least 1,172 villages across 27 blocks and over 30 thousand displaced have now been housed in 108 relief camps.
“The official toll has gone up to 55 with the recovery of three more bodies from the flood affected areas in West Garo Hills. The number of deaths is expected to rise as search and rescue operation is still on,” Chief Secretary P.B.O. Warjri told IANS.
“The flood water is slowly receding in some areas, but many of the areas are inundated especially in the Kharkutta areas in North Garo Hills.”
North Garo Hills district bordering Assam’s Goalpara district was the worst-hit with more than 20 people, including nine children, losing their lives.
Meanwhile, the flood-hit victims in Chibinang area of West Garo Hills, who interacted with Sangma and Speaker of the assembly Abu Taher Mondal, sought immediate relief and were demanding a stronger embankment after the area has lost its contour and identity.
“This is the worst-flood that the people in Garo Hills have faced. We have not only lost precious lives but the quantum of damaged is also very high,” Sangma told IANS over phone from Garo Hills.
“There is so much we need to do now. We have been moved back ten years in our development program due to the flood as major areas have been devastated by the floods. Everywhere we went there were only sad stories to tell.”
The chief minister, who visited the Chibinang, Rajabala, Bhaitbari, Selsella in West Garo Hills, Lukaichar, Kalaichar and the town of Mahendraganj in the South West Garo Hills, urged flood victims not to panic.
“Many flood hit victims have complained that they have not received adequate relief. I have ordered a probe to the deputy commissioners to look into the matter,” the chief minister said.
He also directed the deputy commissioners to provide additional seven days of general relief to the people and if required increase it by another week.
Besides, Sangma directed the district authorities to work out the requirement for books and uniforms for the damaged and affected schools and other emergency measures for the school children in view of the impending examinations.
Sangma Saturday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking Rs.2,000 crore to tide over the situation.