12 lakh affected in Assam floods, toll nears 60
Guwahati, July 15 (IANS): Close to 12 lakh people in 24 districts of Assam continued to reel under floods as the death toll reached 59 in the state on Saturday. The flood situation slightly improved in the state, but officials said over half of Kaziranga National Park was submerged and over 70 animals have died.
Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) on Saturday said that 11,93,458 people have been suffering in 1,795 villages in the 24 districts. The affected districts include Dhemaji, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Soputh Salmara, Golapara, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat Majuli, Sivsagar, Charaideo, Dibrugarh, Karimganj, Cachar.Over 66,516 hectares of agricultural land continue to be affected by floods, the ASDMA report said.
Officials said that close to 25,000 flood-affected people are taking shelter in 129 relief camps set up by the government in different districts. Besides, 52 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park remained under water on Saturday, which has also affected 93 anti-poaching camps in Agaratoli, Kohora, Bagori, Burhapahar and Biswanathghat range of the park.
The forest department as well as the Kaziranga National Park authorities have deployed additional forces, including outside the park, to monitor and track the animals which have strayed outside the park due to the floods. According to park authorities, among the over 70 animals that have drowned in the floods this year are three rhino calves, one leopard cat, one water buffalo, and many hog deer.
There is, however, no incident of any poaching during the current floods and the park authorities have been working hard to provide security to the animals. Meanwhile, though the district administration has been claiming to have distributed sufficient relief material, there were reports from different flood hit areas regarding non receipt of adequate relief materials. Some of the Ministers and MLAs, who have been undertaking visits to their areas due to the floods, have also been facing the ire of the marooned people due to lack of proper distribution of relief materials.