India – Over 100,000 Hit by Floods in 20 Districts of Assam

Ongoing floods in the state of Assam, India, have affected 20 districts and over 100,000 people since 14 June 2023.

Disaster management authorities in Assam reported flooding began after a period of heavy rain around 14 June 2023. North Lakhimpur recorded 164 mm of rain in 24 hours to 15 June. The Singra River broke its banks in Nowboicha Town in Lakhimpur District around this time.

By 15 June over 33,000 people were affected across the districts of Biswanath, Cachar, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Hojai, Lakhimpur, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sonitpur, Tinsukia and Udalguri. Most of those affected were in Lakhimpur (25,275), Tinsukia (2,666) and Dibrugarh (3,857).

Since then heavy rain in the region and in river catchments have increased river levels across the state. As of 22 June, India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) reported rivers were above the danger mark in at least 6 locations and above alert level in 8 locations. Of particular concern is the Puthimari River in Baksa district, which stood at 144.96 metres as of 22 June. Levels above 144.50 metres are considered an “Extreme Flood Situation” by CWC.

Levels of the Puthimari River in Baksa district, Assam, India, June 2023. Image: CWC

As of 21 June, disaster authorities reported a total of 119,830 people across 20 districts were affected, mostly in Baksa (26,571 affected), Lakhimpur (25,096 affected), Nalbari (44,707 affected) and Tamulpur (15,610 affected). Over 30 relief camps were set up and were were housing 2,091 people, mostly in Baksa (1,157) and Nalbari (614).

Chandra Mohan Patowary, the Minister for Environment in Assam, visited some of the flood-affected areas on 17 June 2023.

Flood damaged bridge in Darrang district, Assam, INdia, June 2023. Photo: Government of Assam, India

In recent days heavy rains, landslides and flooding have also affected other north-eastern states including Sikkim and Meghalaya.

In Sikkim, flash floods in North Sikkim District blocked roads and left around 2,400 tourists stranded and several homes damaged on 16 June 2023. Since then India’s Disaster Management Division reported over 5,000 people across 6 districts affected in the state and over 30 homes damaged or destroyed.

Last month the Indian Army were called on to rescue over 500 stranded tourists after heavy rain caused caused landslides and roadblocks in Lachen, Lachung and Chungthang in Sikkim on 19 May 2023.

In Meghalaya, heavy rain triggered a landslide in the West Khasi Hills district on 17 June 2023. A house was buried and 2 people died.

India’s Disaster Management Division also report severe flooding in the northern state of Rajasthan. Heavy rain in the wake of cyclonic storm Biparjoy triggered flooding which affected several districts including Jalore, Sirohi, Pali and Barmer. As of 21 June, at least 6 fatalities were reported, 20 homes were damaged or destroyed and over 4,000 people affected.

Floods in Rajasthan, India, June 2023. Photo: NDRF Vadodara