28 lakh hit, four more die as Assam flood situation worsens
Guwahati, July 23 (IANS): The flood situation in Assam further deteriorated on Thursday with four more persons losing their lives, taking the toll to 93, even as the number of people affected rose to 28.32 lakh across 26 districts, officials said.
Officials of the Forest Department and the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that at least 123 wild animals have died in floods and 150 rescued even as 92 per cent of the 430 sq km, world-famous Kaziranga National Park, home to more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinoceros, remained inundated.
The animals that have died in the deluge include 12 rhinos, 93 hog deer, seven wild boars, four wild buffaloes.
According to the ASDMA officials, of the 28.32 lakh people currently distressed, over 17.85 lakh are only in the state’s five western districts of Goalpara (469,499), Barpeta (421,522), Morigaon (367,471), Dhubri (278,041) and South Sakmara (249,423).
The officials said that the floods — which have inundated the state for over a month now — had claimed 93 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 ASDMA officials said that while the 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, Beki, Kushiyara, Sankosh, Dharamtul — are flowing above the danger mark in a large number of places in seven districts.
The flood waters have inundated over 2,634 villages and 119,435 hectares of crop area in 26 districts.
The district administrations have set up 456 relief camps and distribution centres in 26 districts, where around 47,215 men, women and children have taken shelter.
Of the 26 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. Besides 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.
Assam’s Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Jogen Mohan said that the flood water damaged 204 embankments and 174 bridges in the state.
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.