17/07/2019 11:41 AM IST

Floods Ravage Assam: Toll Rises To 17, Army On Standby For Relief Ops

“This is one of the worst floodings in recent memory,” Assam’s Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta said.

Raging flood waters battered Assam and parts of Bihar with the death toll in the two states mounting to 55 on Tuesday. A red alert was also sounded in Kerala for extremely heavy rains with an India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin saying that over 204 mm rains are likely in 24 hours in six districts of the southern state.

In Assam, the deluge has affected 33 districts of the state and claimed 17 lives. More than 45 lakh people have been hit by the nature’s fury, officials told PTI.

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“This is one of the worst floodings in recent memory,” Assam’s Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Ninety percent of the famed Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state is still submerged, a statement from the Assam Ministry of Forest and Environment said. The Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses.

With over 150 anti-poaching camps in the Kaziranga National Park affected by the floods, the authorities are working round-the-clock to check poaching at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) report, Brahmaputra river and its tributaries are flowing above the danger level in most of the affected districts, including in Guwahati.

In Guwahati, the flood waters of the Brahmaputra have submerged Uzanbazar, Kharguli and Bharalamukh areas.

Traffic in Assam has also been disrupted, and rail links with some neighbouring states have been severed by flooding.

The state government said in a report late on Monday that 30 school buildings and 12 child-care centres had been submerged, and thousands of hectares of crops hit by the waters, reported Reuters.

In view of the worsening flood situation in Assam, various resources of the Army have been kept on stand-by to assist in rescue and relief operations, a top defence official told PTI.

Lt Gen Naravane, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, who was briefed by various commanders on ground about the preparations for rescue operations, assured of a quick response by the Army for deployment of flood relief tasks.

Five columns of the Army have so far been requisitioned and are assisting in the relief operations, another defence official said.

The Army is closely monitoring the flood situation in coordination with the civil administration, another defence official was quoted as saying by PTI.

Centre releases funds

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat reviewed the flood situation in Assam with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and assured all support to the state by the Centre to deal with the situation.

The Centre has released Rs 251.55 crore to the State Disaster Response Fund, he said

(With PTI and Reuters inputs)