The monsoon season has already begun taking its toll on the country in its early weeks, and the incessant rainfall in the north-eastern states of India has affected close to 43 lakh lives. The heavy rains have caused the River Brahmaputra to rise above its danger mark, and in Guwahati, the water levels are climbing at an alarming rate of 2-3 cm per hour. Approximately 4000 villages have submerged and most of Upper Assam has been cut off by road. Deluge has claimed the lives of at least 15 people, and has harshly affected 31 out of the state’s 33 districts.
The Kaziranga National Park, a world heritage site as well as home to the world’s largest population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros, has also suffered great loss. Animals have been spotted straying outside the park and have begun moving to highland locations. People residing in the vicinity of all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been requested to treat any flood-affected, distressed animal with utmost care and love and inform the Forest Department staff immediately for subsequent support. Due to flooding in the Kaziranga region, the National highway 37 has been cut off, thereby making it impossible to commute between Upper Assam and Guwahati.
The rescue efforts are being led by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which is actively evacuating people residing in low-lying areas to relief camps across the state. The NDRF and SDRF had rescued 7,833 people by Sunday. As many as 10,840 litres of mustard oil, 7,922 quintals of rice, tarpaulin sheets, water pouches, biscuits, milk powder, dal, salt and other essential items have been distributed among the flood-affected people.
With the rain falling unceasingly, the country is on a high alert, and the situation in Assam has only been predicted to worsen in the hours to come. Besides the efforts made by the government to rescue marooned citizens, helplines have also been set up to alert officials of any disasters.
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