Assam flood situation improves but 3 dead

Fewer people affected but the number of people in relief camps increases.

The flood situation in Assam improved marginally on Friday but three people drowned to take the death tally to 93. Another 26 were killed in landslides triggered by the intermittent heavy rainfall since May 22.

Large swathes of East Siang and other districts along the flow of river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh have also been affected, with 500 metres of a strategic road washed away. Siang is one of the three rivers that form the Brahmaputra in Assam downstream.

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Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said a break in rainfall helped some 52,000 flood-affected people return to their homes on Friday. The number of affected people across 26 flood-hit districts stood at 27.8 lakh till Friday evening.

“A person each died in Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Morigaon districts. We had to increase the number of relief camps to 301 with the number of inmates totalling 50,136, almost 3,000 more than on Thursday,” an ASDMA spokesperson said.

Goalpara continued to be the worst-affected district with 4.7 lakh people marooned, followed by Barpeta (4.61 lakh), Morigaon (3.75 lakh), Dhubri (2.87 lakh) and South Salmara (2.5 lakh).

‘Road rhino’ dies

The male one-horned rhinoceros that had taken refuge on the highway after labouring out of a flooded Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) on July 17 was found dead inside the park at about 11 a.m. on Friday.

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Park officials and veterinarians of an animal rescue centre at Kaziranga had provided multivitamin-laced sweetened grass to the tired rhino. They had also sprayed an antibiotic eye-drop at the rhino found to be suffering from corneal opacity and conjunctivitis.

“The cause of death of the rhino was ascertained as sickness associated with old age. He was found near the Dusuti anti-poaching camp of KNPTR’s Bagori Range,” park official Ramesh Kumar Gogoi said.

The rhino was the 13th to die during the flood in KNPTR, about 85% of which has been submerged. At least 112 other animals of the park have died in the floods with 18 — mostly hog deer — run over by speeding vehicles on the highway along the southern edge of the park.

The highway runs through nine major and several minor corridors KNPTR animals use to move to and from the hills beyond during natural disasters.

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