Assam flood situation grim; death toll rises to 97, over 26 lakh in distress
Guwahati, July 25 (IANS) The over a month long devastating flood in Assam continued to remain grim , with one more death on Saturday in Morigaon district, taking the toll to 97 while, 26.37 lakh people in 27 of the states 33 districts have been distressed, officials said.
Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials said that eight major rivers flowing down from neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, including the Brahmaputra, are in spate.
According to the Forest Department officials at least 127 wild animals have died in floods and 157 rescued even as over 90 per cent of the 430 sq km, world-famous Kaziranga National Park, home to more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinos, remained flooded.
The animals that have perished in the annual deluge include 13 rhinos, 94 hog deer, eight wild boars, five wild buffaloes, three porcupines and two swamp deer.
The official said that not only Kaziranga National Park, located on edge of the eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots of Golaghat and Nagaon districts, the Manas, R.G. Orang and Tinsukia national parks, the Pabitora and Tinsukia wildlife sanctuaries were also affected and many wild animals have perished.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Assam has recorded 17 per cent excess rainfall so far since June 1, when the four month-long monsoon season started. Since June 1 and till Saturday, Assam recorded 929.5 mm rainfall against the normal 792.3 mm.
According to the ASDMA officials of the state's 26.37 lakh people currently affected, around 18 lakh are only in the state's five western districts — Goalpara (470,253), Barpeta (423,656), Morigaon (375,250), Dhubri (278,841) and South Salmara (249,423).
The floods had claimed at least 97 lives so far in Kokrajhar, Kamrup (Metro), Baksa, South Salmara, Darrang, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Bongaigaon, Kamrup, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Morigaon, Dhubri, Nagaon, Nalbari, Barpeta, Dhemaji, Udalguri, Goalpara and Dibrugarh districts, while 26 others were killed in separate landslides since May 22.
The swollen Brahmaputra has been flowing above the danger mark in a large number of places in five districts, as many as seven more rivers — Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Kopili, Dharamtul, Beki, Kushiyara, Sankosh — are flowing above the danger mark in a large number of places in seven districts.
The monsoon floods, triggered by heavy rains, have inundated 2,370 villages and also affected 116,939 hectares of crop area in 27 districts and damaged hundreds of houses partially and completely.
The district administrations have set up around 564 relief camps and distribution centres in 27 districts, where around 48,000 people have taken shelter.
Of the 27 affected districts, 15 — Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Morigaon, South Sakmara, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Nagaon, Golaghat, Majuli, Bongaigaon — are the worst-hit.
Besides erosion of river banks at a large number of places, roads, embankments, bridges, culverts and other infrastructure were damaged at many locations in 24 districts, the officials said, adding that hundred of houses were fully or partially damaged due to the floods.
Around 14 lakh domesticated animals and over 8 lakh poultry birds were affected.
A total of 16 National Disaster Response Force teams and many teams of State Disaster Response Force, along with the local administration, are continuously working to rescue affected people and render relief services, including distribution of necessary material to the marooned villagers.