Flood toll in Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya crosses 100

A man uses a makeshift raft to move his paddy to a safer place in a flooded area in Morigaon district in Assam, July 16, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika

New Delhi:The flood situation in Bihar, Assam and Meghalaya remained grim on Thursday with the death toll crossing the 100-figure mark.

Several million people are living in camps and makeshift settlements in India's eastern state of Bihar and northeastern Assam, officials said, with heavy rains and flooding since last week driving even animals to seek shelter in people's homes.The monsoon brings heavy rains to South Asia between June and October, often triggering floods later in the season.

Inadequate supplies are also a concern in the Indian state of Assam, where more than 5.8 million people have been forced out of their homes, but the situation is improving.

"No fresh areas have come under floodwaters since Wednesday night," Assam's health and finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said.

Parts of north and eastern India were also lashed by rains and the Army was called out in Punjab's Sangrur district following a 50-foot breach in the Ghaggar river that inundated over 2,000 acres of agricultural field and inhabitants of a few nearby villages fled fearing flood threat.


The national capital witnessed a fresh bout of rains on Thursday that resulted in a drop in temperatures and pollution levels.

The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides official figures for Delhi, reported 12.1 mm rains overnight. Between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm, it measured 3.6 mm precipitation.

A total 78 people have died so far in the flash floods that have hit Bihar in the wake of torrential rainfall in adjoining Nepal, the state disaster management department said.

Sitamarhi district accounted for the maximum number of 18 deaths.

Of Assam's 33 districts, 28 remained under the grip of floods that has displaced nearly 54 lakh people and killed 36 people.

The mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries are flowing above the danger mark in Guwahati and other parts of the state, and according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 53,52,107 people are reeling under the impact of the deluge.

Nine fresh deaths -- three from Morigaon, two from Biswanath, and one each from Sonitpur, Udalguri, Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts -- were reported on Thursday, the ASDMA said.

Barpeta is the worst-hit district 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.

Over 2.26 lakh displaced people have taken shelter in 1,080 relief camps and 689 relief distribution centres set up by the district administrations, the ASDMA bulletin 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, it said.

With two more deaths in Meghalaya, the toll in floods in the state rose to eight while over 1.55 lakh were affected by the deluge.

Meanwhile, in Kerala, the IMD has sounded a red alert in Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts which are likely to receive extremely heavy rainfall upwards of 20 cm in the next two to three days.

Other districts are predicted to get isolated heavy to very heavy rains on these days, though a red alert has not been issued for them.

In northern India's Haryana and Punjab the maximum temperatures were below normal limits, with the weatherman forecasting light to moderate rains at a few places in the two states for Friday.

Both Chandigarh and Haryana's Ambala recorded maximum temperature of 32.8 degrees Celsius, one notch below normal limits, while Karnal registered a high of 30 degrees Celsius, four notches below the average. Narnaul, which received 71 mm rainfall during the day, recorded a maximum temperature of 29 degrees Celsius.

In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a high of 33.5 degrees Celsius, one notch below the normal while Ludhiana and Patiala recorded below normal maximums of 32.7 degrees Celsius and 32.4 degrees Celsius.

Rajasthan received rainfall ranging from 2 cm to 12 cm since Wednesday with Khetri town in Jhunjhunu district recording 12 cm of rains.

Rupbas town in Bharatpur district and Sujangarh city in Churu district each received 6 cm of rains followed by Bhuhana in Jhunjhunu and Tibi in Hanumangarh districts each of which gauged 5 cm rainfall.

Bikaner, with 40.8 degrees Celsius, was the hottest place in the state, followed by 38.9 degrees Celsius in Jaisalmer, 38.8 degrees Celsius each in Jodhpur and Barmer, 38.6 degrees Celsius in Sriganganagar and 35.8 degrees Celsius in Jaipur.

Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and parts of Odisha, Jharkhand, Sikkim and also Bihar received rains.

Flood toll in Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya crosses 100
One-horned rhinos rest on a highland in the flood affected area of Kaziranga National Park in Nagaon district in Assam, July 18, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika


Large parts of Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary are also submerged, forcing wild animals, including rhinos, elephants, deer and wild boars, to take refuge in artificial highlands constructed within the parks or migrate to the southern highlands of Karbi Anglong hills.

Several famed one-horned rhinoceros and other animals have reportedly died in the floods.

Images of a fully grown tiger "relaxing" on a bed inside a shop in Assam's flooded Kaziranga National Park has created a buzz on social media and thrown spotlight on the plight of animals as the state battles the deluge.

On Thursday, an adult tiger was found sleeping on a bed in a house on the edge of the sanctuary in Kaziranga National Park. "It appears the tiger strayed into a human settlement area to escape the floods and now appears very tired," park director Shiv Kumar told Reuters.

"We are preparing to tranquilise the tiger."

Flood fury forces Kaziranga tiger to take shelter in shop

The floods have killed at least 43 animals, but authorities worry that poachers could take advantage of the deluge to target animals, especially one-horned rhinos, whose numbers are down to about 3,500 worldwide.

"The biggest worry during the floods is from poachers who might take advantage of the rhinos moving to the hills and kill the animals for their horn," said Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya.

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters.)

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