The rampaging flood waters have receded from Sivasagar even as 28 of the 33 districts in Assam remained affected by the deluge, displacing nearly 54 lakh people and claiming nine more lives to take the death toll to 36 on Thursday.
Famous rhinoceros habitats — the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary — continued to remain under the surging waters of the mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries flowing above the danger mark in Guwahati and other parts of the state.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority’s (ASDMA) evening bulletin, 53,52,107 people are reeling under the impact of the deluge in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Udalguri, Baksa, Barpeta, Nalbari, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Kamrup (M), Morigaon, Nagaon, Hojai, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Majuli, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Cachar and Karimganj districts.
Nine fresh deaths — three from Morigaon, two from Biswanath, one each from Sonitpur, Udalguri, Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts — were reported on Thursday, the ASDMA said.
Barpeta is the worst hit with 13.48 lakh people suffering due to the deluge that has damaged over 4,000 houses across the state, swept away 130 animals and affected over 25 lakh big and small animals, besides 23 lakh poultry birds.
Over 2.26 lakh displaced people had taken shelter in 1,080 relief camps and 689 relief distribution centres set up by the district administrations, which were providing food, water, baby food, tarpaulin and polythene sheets, candles, bleaching powder, mosquito repellents, matchboxes, detergents, sanitary napkins, medicines etc., along with cattle fodder, the ASDMA bulletin said.
With vast areas of KNP and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary submerged, many wild animals, including deer and buffaloes, have been moved to highlands.
A tiger strayed out of KNP to take shelter on a bed in a shop-cum-house at Harmoti, near the Bagori range of the UNESCO-declared world heritage site, before fleeing to the nearby forest after firecrackers were burst to guide the wild cat out, forest department sources said.
NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) teams were working round-the-clock in the flood-affected areas to evacuate those stranded, the ASDMA said.
A statement from the Guwahati-based 1st NDRF battalion said over 5,600 people, who were critically marooned in remote areas, were so far evacuated by the force from different flood-hit areas of the state.
Assistant Commandant, NDRF Santosh Singh said they were providing medical assistance to human beings as well as animals in the inundated areas.
He added that the NDRF personnel had rescued a wheelchaired man from Rajagaon village in Golaghat.
A 48-year-old woman named Pamoda, who was extremely sick, was also rescued from the same village and taken to Bokakhat, Singh said.