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10 more people, 3 rhinos killed in flood-hit Assam

39 animals including four rhinos and an elephant have died due to the Assam floods. File

39 animals including four rhinos and an elephant have died due to the Assam floods. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

The floods have also affected about 45 lakh people across 4,620 villages in 31 of Assam’s 33 districts

Floodwaters showed a receding trend in Assam on Wednesday but left 10 people in five districts and three one-horned rhinos in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) dead.

Floods and rain-induced landslides have so far killed 30 people while 51 animals have either drowned in KNP or been killed by speeding vehicles while trying to escape to higher ground beyond a highway along the southern edge of the park.

Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said the number of flood-affected districts came down to 29 from 32 during the last 24 hours. But the number of flood-affected people increased by more than 12 lakh during this period to touch 57.52 lakh.

“These people are from 4,626 villages, where a total crop area of 1.73 lakh hectares hase been damaged. At the moment, 1.52 lakh people have been housed across 819 relief camps,” an ASDMA spokesperson said.

Elsewhere in the Northeast, two bikers were injured after they were caught in a landslide near Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar on Wednesday. Officials said they were under treatment.

Floods and landslides have killed at least 11 people in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

More animals killed

The water level in the 430 sq. km. KNP fell by 65 cm by Wednesday evening, but 169 of the 199 anti-poaching camps remained inundated.

“So far, 51 animals have died, including five rhinos, three of them by 3 p.m., and an elephant. A sambhar and 11 hog deer were killed by vehicles on the highway adjoining the park. The rest drowned,” the park’s Divisional Forest Officer Rohini B. Saikia said.

Forest guards, officials and people in the vicinity around the park also rescued 57 animals. Of these, 43 were released after medication at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation while 10, including two rhinos are still under treatment.

Park officials said 95% of KNP had been submerged two days ago but the water level kept falling. The flooding of the park depends on the volume of rainfall in eastern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and it normally takes two days for floodwaters of river Brahmaputra to reach the rhino habitat from Dibrugarh, about 245 km east.

There were no reports of animal casualties from the other flooded wildlife reserves — Orang National Park, Nameri National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuary, about 40 km east of Guwahati, is also referred to as ‘mini Kaziranga’ for a similar landscape. The sanctuary, with a core area of 16 sq km, has the highest concentration of rhinos in Assam.

Encephalitis deaths

Officials of National Health Mission said six people died of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) on Wednesday. This has taken the death toll due to the two related diseases to 207 since January.

The officials said there have been 1,481 cases of AES and JE in the State so far.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 2:43:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/10-more-people-3-rhinos-killed-in-flood-hit-assam/article28503328.ece

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