GUWAHATI: Three more persons perished in the floods in Assam on Friday even as British Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton expressed their deep concern over the devastation caused by the deluge, particularly at the Kaziranga National Park.
In a letter to the park’s director P Sivakumar, the couple wrote that they were heartbroken to hear about the devastation to the park and its precious wildlife.
“We have the happiest memories of our visit to Kaziranga in April 2016 and are shocked by what has happened. The deaths of so many animals, including one-horned rhino, are deeply upsetting,” the letter reads.
“We know from our visit how dedicated all the staff in Kaziranga are in caring for the park’s wildlife, and can only begin to imagine what a difficult time this must be. Catherine and I greatly admire all the work that you and the rangers at Kaziranga are doing to risk your own safety, rescue animals, and contain the damage,” the couple wrote.
They said the loss of lives and livelihood in Assam as a result of the floods, coming on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, was deeply distressing. They offered their condolences to all the affected.
Altogether 126 animals – including 13 rhinos – perished at Kaziranga due to various reasons including drowning and vehicle hits. The incidents of vehicle hits occurred on a national highway that traverses beside the park.
Official sources said President Ram Nath Kovind took stock of the flood situation during a telephonic conversation with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday. Kovind said the people of the country were with Assam in these difficult times.
Meanwhile, the deaths of the three persons in the floods on Friday took the toll to 96. Twenty-six others were killed in rain-triggered landslides earlier.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, 27,79,895 people from 2,543 villages and localities across 26 districts were reeling under the flood.
Major rivers such as Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali, Beki, Kopili, Sankosh, and Kushiyara were flowing above the danger level at many places.
The floodwater breached a number of river embankments and damaged bridges and roads across the state. The standing crop was affected in areas of 1,22,573 hectares. Altogether 496 relief camps were still operational where 50,136 people were lodged.