GUWAHATI: The first wave of the floods in Assam has affected over 8.69 lakh people in 21 districts even as it inundated the Kaziranga National Park.
Three people died in the deluge and landslides on Friday which took the death toll to six. The authorities set up 68 relief camps where 7,643 people were lodged.
The flood has submerged 70 per cent of Kaziranga, which is a World Heritage Site.
Official sources said animals, particularly elephants and deer, were moving towards the neighbouring Karbi Anglong hills. The rhinos were taking shelter on the highlands. Earlier, 33 highlands were created within the park keeping in mind the annual floods.
“Around 70 per cent of the park is flooded. The Biswanath wildlife division is basically a Brahmaputra area. It has been completely submerged. In the eastern Assam wildlife divisions, only Burapahar, Kahora and Bagori ranges are not submerged. The rest is submerged,” the park’s director, P Sivakumar, told this newspaper on Friday.
Citing delayed monsoon, he said the flood situation in the park might worsen in the coming days.
“Except for the deer and elephants, there is no movement of the other animals towards the hills of Karbi Anglong. If the level of water further increases, they might move to the hills. As of now, there is no scarcity of food for the animals,” Sivakumar said.
Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong are natural ecosystems. Whenever there is a flood, animals will move to the hilly areas and when the flood water recedes, they will come down. Only the unfit ones get washed away, he said.
“We’ve put in place speed limits for vehicles since yesterday (Thursday). We have placed barricades at all animal corridors. If there is a mass movement of the animals towards the hills, we will introduce time cards for vehicles passing through Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong areas,” he added.