Guwahati, July 22 (IANS): The human toll in Assam floods rose to 67 on Monday, while Forest Department officials said that a total of 187 animals including 15 one horned rhinos, an elephant and over 100 deer have died.
The death toll rose to 67 after death of two more persons in last 24 hours, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said on Monday even as the flood situation is improving gradually across the state.
As on Monday, 33,55,837 people are still affected by the flood in over 2,000 villages in the Dhemaji, Biswanath, Darrang, Barpeta, Nalbari, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Jorhat, Golaghat and Cachar districts.
The current wave of floods have submerged almost 90 percent of the Kaziranga National Park, forcing the wild animals to stray out to take shelter on higher ground while flood waters have also submerged the anti-poaching camps over the last one week.
The park authorities have, however, said that the flood situation is improving gradually as the water level have been showing a receding trend. "The flood water level is showing a falling trend and we have recorded that the water level had fallen by 162 cm till Monday morning," an official said, adding that Forest Department staff have been working hard along with villagers to protect the distressed wild animals.
As many as 16 animals - 15 hog deer and a sambar - were killed by speeding vehicles on National Highway 37 while 15 rhinos and an elephant died of drowning. "A total of 13 wild boar, 12 sambar, 6 hog deer, two water buffaloes and three porcupines have also died due to drowning," he said adding that the forest officials and local villagers have also rescued 53 hog deer, some of which were later released in the wild again.
Meanwhile, the ASDMA officials said on Monday that over 1,14,179 hectares of agricultural land, including with standing crops, continued to be affected by floods and close to 97,000 people are living in 757 relief camps set up by district administrations.