Assam flood death toll 27, nearly 15 lakh people affected

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Three more people drowned on Tuesday as the flood situation in Assam continued to remain grim, affecting 14.93 lakh people in 2,235 villages and localities across 23 districts.

Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said the deaths were reported from Barpeta and Dibrugarh districts. The death toll since May 22 has increased to 27 while 23 others were killed in landslides earlier.

The flood after heavy rain has affected crops on more than 75,700 hectares of land and about 20 lakh domesticated animals and poultry.

Almost all major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, the Burhi Dihing, the Dhansiri, the Jia Bharali, the Kopili and the Puthimari, were flowing above danger level. The overflowing rivers breached embankments at several places, damaging vital roads and bridges, officials said.

“The districts have set up 265 relief camps in 21 districts where 25,461 people are taking shelter,” an ASDMA spokesperson said.

Barpeta continued to be the worst hit district with 4.87 lakh people affected followed by South Salmara (1.95 lakh), Nalbari (1.04 lakh), Morigaon (98,804) and Goalpara (93,996).

More hog deer were killed as the water level in the partially flooded Kaziranga National Park kept rising to inundate 143 of the 223 anti-poaching camps.

“A total of 14 animals — one rhino and 13 hog deer — have died so far due to flooding, vehicle hits and other reasons,” Kaziranga park’s director P. Sivakumar said.

Five of the hog deer were hit by vehicles as they tried to cross the highway between the southern edge of the park and the hills of Karbi Anglong district. The park authorities have imposed speed restrictions and issued time cards that require drivers to cover the stretch with animal corridors within a specified time.

The road-hits made ace sprinter Hima Das appeal to the people to be careful while driving along the highway.

The deluge has also affected the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, often called mini Kaziranga, about 45 km east of Guwahati. A rhino was reported dead there on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Oil India Limited removed debris from near Well Number 5 at Baghjan in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district after water began subsiding on Monday. The natural gas well is still ablaze, though controlled, after exploding almost a fortnight after it experienced a blowout on May 27.

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