A one-horned rhinoceros along with her baby stands in floodwater inside Kaziranga National Park (PTI)
GUWAHATI: Assam is battling one of the worst flood situations for seven weeks now, which has so far claimed 71 human lives and 76 wild animals, including six rhinos in Kaziranga National Park.
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority, nearly 40 lakh people from 27 of the 33 districts have been hit by this first wave of flood that has been carrying out the devastation since May 22 simultaneously with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost 50,000 people have been forced to leave their inundated homes and are taking shelter at temporary relief camps. Over one lakh hectare of crop land with standing crops has also been affected.
“We are simultaneously fighting Covid-19 and flood and erosion. Social distancing norms have been followed at the flood relief camps and the inmates were provided masks,” chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said.
Sonowal visited the floods-ravaged Kaziranga National Park on Thursday and reviewed the measures taken by the park authorities to ensure the protection of animals during the floods.
Kaziranga National Park authorities said of the four carcasses have been recovered were found in the park’s central forest range and western and Burapahar forest range on Thursday. With these the total number of rhinos killed in Kaziranga has gone up to six. The national park has also lost 61 hog deer.
The official said, “90 per cent of the total park area is still reeling under water and of the total 223 anti-poaching camps, 99 have been submerged by floods so far. Six camps have been vacated due to the floods.”
All rivers of the state, including the Brahmaputra are flowing above the danger-level mark, which have breached a large number ageing earthen embankments across the state. The flooded rivers have caused widespread erosion, washed away RCC bridges, uprooted trees in several areas.
The National Disaster Response Force said that its 12 search and rescue teams have been deployed in the state in the worst-hit districts.
The 1st battalion of NDRF in Guwahati stated that the flood has disturbed the life of people and its teams have evacuated 103 marooned villagers and transported them to safer places. Besides, teams are also assisting district administration in distribution of mask in inundated areas.