Guwahati: The flood waters showed a receding trend in Assam where 12 people the death toll due to rain-related incidents rose to 59 on Saturday, while 24 of the state's 33 districts remained inundated, officials said.
The waters of the deluge, which wrecked large-scale devastation across the state, receded from Baksa, Hojai and Majuli districts, but continued to submerge 1.51 lakh hectare of crop land and a large part of Kaziranga National Park, where 10 rhinos have been killed.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) flood bulletin, five deaths reported from Morigaon district, three from Barpeta, two from South Salmara and one each from Nalbari and Dhubri districts during the day taking the toll to 59.
At least 3,024 villages in the affected districts continued to be under water and 44,08,142 people are hit in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Barpeta, Nalbari, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Cachar and Karimganj districts, it said.
A Defence release said that a large scale flood relief operation is underway in flood-hit areas of lower Assam by the Army and rescue columns are operating round the clock. Despite incessant heavy rain, 488 persons were evacuated and rescued while relief material was provided to another 450 people.
Disaster relief tasks have been executed on a war footing in Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta, Dhekiajuli and Morigaon districts, it said. In the districts where the waters have ebbed, the displaced people are returning to their homes.
The ASDMA bulletin said over 1.32 lakh displaced people are still in 689 relief camps and 240 relief distribution centres set up by the district administrations. In Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage site, the flood water level recorded a drop of 138 cm.
The calamity has claimed the lives of 129 animals, including 10 rhinos, 62 hog deer, eight sambhar deer and an equal number of wild boar, five swamp deer, two porcupines, an elephant and a wild buffalo since July 13, a release by its divisional forest officer said on Saturday.
Fifteen hog deer and a sambhar deer were killed when they were hit by vehicles while crossing the adjacent National Highway 37 to reach the highlands in nearby Karbi Anglong district.
The release said 10 other hog deer and a rhino perished in the floods, while five hog deer died on their arrival at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga after being rescued. Two rhinos and six hog deer are being treated at the Centre, the release said.
The Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level at Neamatighat in Jorhat district, Goalpara, Dhubri, Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat district and Kopili at Dharamtul in Nagaon district, the ASDMA bulletin said.
Many of the flood-affected complained to state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma and to the media in different places that they have not been provided with adequate gratuitous relief items or accommodation in the relief centres forcing some to live in makeshift homes on boats. Sarma directed the district authorities concerned to ensure relief materials in the shelters.