2 children die, 70% of Kaziranga inundated in Assam floods

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Two children died while over 3.63 lakh others in 21 of Assam’s 34 districts have been affected in the first wave of the floods which also inundated over 70% of the one-horned rhino fame Kaziranga National Park.

The deaths occurred in the Barpeta district of lower Assam and Morigaon district of central Assam.

The other affected districts were Biswanath, Cachar, Chirang, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Jorhat, Kamrup, Karbi Anglong West, Lakhimpur, Majuli, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, South Salmara, and Tinsukia.

Altogether 950 villages under 50 revenue circles are in the grip of the deluge, triggered by incessant rains. The marooned include 1,24,776 females and 70,544 children. The authorities set up 16 relief camps in 10 districts where 1,619 people were lodged.

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The floods affected cropland in over 30,333 hectares of land and damaged roads and infrastructure in some districts. Several rivers, including the Brahmaputra, were in a spate, flowing above the danger level.

As the water kept rising at Kaziranga, the animals, particularly elephants and deer, started migrating to the Karbi Anglong hills on the park’s southern fringe. The park authorities said as of now, there was no crisis of food for the animals.

“The water level is gradually increasing. More than 70% of the park and 125 of the 223 camps have been inundated,” the park’s Director P Sivakumar told The New Indian Express.

The poachers usually get active during floods and Sivakumar said the forest guards were maintaining vigil round-the-clock.

“There are vested interest groups. Taking advantage of the situation, they make attempts to hunt the distressed animals, particularly deer, for their meat,” the forest officer said.

So far, four hog deer died – three of them in vehicle hits. A national highway traverses the park and the authorities restricted the speed limit of vehicles.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma directed that till there is a significant decrease in the flood situation, all heavy vehicles will ply through the north bank of the Brahmaputra.

Official sources said the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Guwahati was also partially submerged.