ITANAGAR, Aug 31: Some 30 people, mostly cattle farmers, are stranded on an island in the Siang river in Jampani, under Sille-Oyan circle of East Siang district, even as the water level of the Siang river is rising.
Deputy Commissioner Tamiyo Tatak has written to the station commander of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Dibrugarh station, requesting for air-evacuation of the stranded people at the earliest possible to save their lives.
Several animals are feared trapped in the area, as it is one of the main cattle-farming areas of the district. Jampani is also the main vegetable supplier to nearby areas. The DC said several cattle sheds and field camps have been inundated by floodwater.
Speaking to this daily, Tatak said the water level of the Siang has been on the rise.
On Wednesday, the district authority had said that due to heavy rainfall in the Chinese portion, the river is swelling with an observed discharge of 9020 cumec on Wednesday at 8 am at various locations.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) reported that the discharge of the river on 14 August was 8070 cumec.
“The incremental discharge should not inflict severe damages and as such (the people) should not panic,” the administration said.
Chintan Seth, a GIS and remote-sensing researcher based in Bangalore, said, “Satellite-derived rainfall measurements (made available by NASA) indicate that intense rainfall has occurred in the Yarlung-Tsangpo catchment area. The rainfall accumulation indicates episodic spikes in rainfall over the last one month in the area. The observations can be supported by cloud penetrating radar images (provided by the European Space Agency) taken on 21 August, showing flooded areas along the Tsangpo. The water level readings from ground-based weather stations in Tibet indicate severe flood potential as well”.
“Rainfall forecasts (provided by University of Maryland, USA) for Pasighat and other foothill areas of Arunachal, indicate intense rainfall from 31 August to 2 September, while the IMD predicts heavy rainfall across several places in Arunachal,” he said.
The East Siang administration has on Wednesday advised people living in low-lying areas on both the banks of the Siang river, including Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Sigar, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing and Mer to remain alert, but said there was no reason to panic.
The administration had issued a similar advisory on 20 August.
According to recordings at Yingkiong, Tuting and Pasighat by the CWC, there has been no abnormal rise in the water level, although it is flowing more densely than average.
Meanwhile, requesting for early air-evacuation, MP Ninong Ering in a tweet said the water level is rising rapidly and has eroded land in the area.
Ering said he has communicated to the offices of the prime minister, the defence minister, the National Disaster Management Authority, and the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh “regarding rapidly rising water level in Jampani in Sika Bamin Pasighat and eroding land.”
Following warning from the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the authorities in Dibrugarh (which is downstream of Pasighat) in an order issued on Thursday directed government officials not to leave the headquarters.
In the order, DC Laya Madduri said that as a result of release of excess water by the Chinese authorities, there may be unprecedented rise in the water level of the Brahmaputra, and that permission granted to employees to leave the station were all cancelled.
Meanwhile, the East Siang DC said eight families have been shifted to safer locations in Seram village as the Siang river and its tributaries have severely eroded the village.
He said sand and gravel in the Siang’s waters is a cause of concern.
“If it rains, the river could pose problems for Motum, Borguli, Seram, Gadum, Namsing and Mer villages under Mebo,” he said.