A woman cooks food in a makeshift camp after her house was submerged by the flood at the bank of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. | Photo Credit:
Ritu Raj Konwar
Death toll rises to 35, but situation getting better, says Assam official
The flood situation in Assam improved on Friday, but one more person drowned to take the death toll to 35 since May 22. Landslips killed 24 more during this period.A spokesperson of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said the person drowned in the Athani area of Dhubri district. “The scenario, otherwise, is better with more than 2.76 lakh people having returned to their villages and localities during the last 24 hours. The floods affected 13.27 lakh people across 20 districts,” she said.The number of people in relief camps has reduced. Compared to 12,597 inmates across 93 relief camps on July 2, there were 11,741 people in 92 shelters till the time of reporting.The Brahmaputra and three of its tributaries, officials said, were flowing above the danger mark, but at fewer stretches than before.Barpeta continued to be the worst-hit district with 7.41 lakh people affected, followed by South Salmara (1.95 lakh), Goalpara (93,331), Nalbari (81,011) and Morigaon (46,118).More animals dieThe water level at Kaziranga National Park continues to recede. Now 48 of the total of 223 anti-poaching camps remain inundated, down from a high of 146 a few days ago.But the number of animals killed by the flooding increased overnight from 25 to 33. Park officials said 10 died of ‘other’ reasons that included hunting, nine died under treatment at a rescue centre, eight were run over by speeding vehicles and five drowned. A rhino had a natural death.Animals fleeing the flooded Kaziranga, which has a core area of 430 sq km, have to cross a highway to reach the relative safety of the hills in Karbi Anglong district. The park authorities had a week ago made it mandatory for vehicles crossing the stretch alongside the park’s southern edge to slow down to 40 kmph.Altogether, 41 animals – both injured and uninjured – were admitted at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga. Of these, nine were either brought dead or died during treatment, while 31 were released back in to the wild.