FILE PHOTO: Flood-affected villagers are transported by boat to safety at Kachua village in Nagaon district, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, July 22, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
Floods in India's northeastern state of Assam have so far killed 102 people and badly affected a population of over 5.6 million, officials said on Monday, when the country is being gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), floods have claimed five lives and affected 2.4 million people in 23 districts during the past 24 hours.
"There has been no respite in the flood situation in the state and as per cumulative figures available with us, it has hit 30 districts and affected a population of 5,671,018," said Mandira, project manager at ASDMA. "The number of human lives that have been lost during this period because of flooding is 102."
Floods hit the state on May 22 and there has been no let-up in the situation.
"There has been no improvement in the weather situation which precisely is the reason waters are not receding fully," she said. "Some times it recedes at certain places but again the situation turns grim as rains are continuing."
According to the ASDMA, the flood water has so far inundated 5,304 villages, damaging the cropland of over 259,899.44 hectares during the past 37 days.
The local government has set up relief centres in almost all the inundated districts to provide shelter to the affected population. Locals said the majority of the people were taking shelter in houses of their friends and relatives.
"In the flood-hit areas, there are around 384 joint teams from state and national disaster response teams carrying out rescue and relief efforts. So far 81,012 people were evacuated and presently 615 relief camps have been set up for the affected people," Mandira said.
According to the Central Water Commission, all major rivers are flowing above the danger mark. The surging water has eroded roads, embankments, culverts, bridges and at places triggered land erosions.
"So far 6,827 houses were fully damaged because of the floods and 32,057 have suffered partial damage," she said.
Officials said the incessant rains have also triggered landslides in several areas from June 2 until July 12 intermittently, where 26 people were killed.
Meanwhile, more than 95 percent of the Kaziranga national park, a UNESCO world heritage site remains submerged in floodwaters.
Wildlife officials said at least 123 wild animals have died in floods and 150 others rescued.
The park is the largest home to the one-horned rhinoceros in India. Estimates say more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinoceros are found in the park. The animals that have got perished in the floods include 12 rhinos, 93 hog deer, seven wild boars and four wild buffaloes.
Floods are an annual occurrence in Assam during the monsoon season.