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Assam: Child dies, two missing as boat capsizes in Brahmaputra amid heavy rain, storm

Guwahati: A four-year-old child died and two persons were reported missing after a boat capsized in the Brahmaputra in South Salmara-Mankachar district, amid heavy rain and hailstorm across Assam, a senior official said on Monday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah dialled Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to enquire about the situation in the state, and assured of all assistance, he said.

The sudden storm accompanied with hail and a downpour lashed several parts of the state since Sunday evening, uprooting trees, electric poles and damaging houses, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) CEO Gyanendra Dev Tripathi said.

"A country boat sank at 5 pm yesterday at Nepurer Alga village while travelling from Sishumara ghat to Nepurer Alga ghat. A child's body was recovered by locals and two people are missing," he told PTI.

The deceased has been identified as Samin Mondal (4), while Kobat Ali Mondal (56) and Ismail Ali (8) are missing, Tripathi said.

"An SDRF team started a search operation this morning and deep divers from Dhubri and Goalpara districts also joined them. An NDRF team is en route to the site to assist in the rescue efforts," he said.

The ASDMA is sending drones with pilots for surveillance during the operation, the CEO said.

He said there were 15 passengers in the boat, and the rest of them swam to safety with the help of locals from nearby ‘Char’ areas (riverine vegetative islands).

Tripathi also said a number of lightning incidents have taken place in several districts, but no report of any casualty has been received so far.

"We are still compiling reports from different districts, while some are yet to send their assessment. Once the exercise is complete, only then will we be able to give a complete picture of the damage," he said.

Several houses, schools and shops along with scores of vehicles were damaged across the state due to the rain and storm, officials said.

Hundreds of visitors were stranded inside the Garbhanga Reserve Forest near Guwahati till the early hours of Monday, as uprooted trees blocked roads, they said.

"The district administration carried out rescue operations till around 3 am and cleared the roads. The rush was a little more as it was a Sunday," an official said.

People had a harrowing time to reach their destinations in the morning hours, as several roads were blocked and electric poles and trees lay scattered.

Meanwhile, Sarma in a post on X said Shah’s assurance of full support and assistance for relief and rehabilitation is deeply appreciated.

The India Meteorological Department had on Sunday issued an 'Orange Alert' and forecast “heavy to very heavy” rainfall across several states of the northeast, including Assam, over the next five days.

In a special bulletin, IMD’s Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Guwahati issued the alert for Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh for Sunday.

The states are likely to witness thunderstorms with lightning and heavy to very heavy rain accompanied with gusty wind at speeds of 30-40 km per hour, it said.

For the next four days, the RMC issued a 'Yellow Alert' for these states.

An 'Orange Alert' implies “be prepared for action” and 'Yellow Alert' stands for “watch and be updated”

The weather report said a cyclonic circulation lies over Assam at 1.5 km above the mean sea level.

"Under the influence of the above synoptic conditions and moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal to Northeastern region, light to moderate rainfall at many to most places with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur," it said.

The sudden downpour accompanied by storm also wreaked havoc at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here on Sunday, prompting the authorities to briefly halt operations and divert six flights to other destinations.

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