Assam floods: 225 animals dead in Kaziranga

GUWAHATI:

At least 225 animals have died in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam as a second wave of devastating floods lashed the state, park officials said on Saturday.

As of Saturday, 30 per cent of the park was still inundated.

Earlier this month, the first wave of floods had submerged over 70 per cent of the park and led to the death of 105 animals, park Director Satyendra Singh told IANS. 

"The flood water is starting to recede but the pace is very slow," Singh said. "It will take another few days to completely recede." 

The dead animals include 178 hog deer, 15 rhinos, four elephants and one tiger.

The second wave of floods hit the state earlier this month, submerging 25 districts and affecting over 33 lakh people. 

The floods also damaged houses and public buildings, breached embankments, damaged roads and washed away bridges. 

All the northeastern states have remained cut off from the other parts of India as rail connectivity snapped forcing the Railway Board to suspend train services beyond Malda and Alipurduar (West Bengal). 

In 2012, 793 animals died in Kaziranga due to heavy floods. Last year, a total of 503 animals were killed in the floods.

Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said it hopes to fix the snapped rail links to the region by August 28 if the flood situation does not deteriorate further. 

NFR Chief Public Relations Officer P.J. Sharma said on Saturday that the railway network still remains breached in Kishanganj, Katihar and Araria districts of Bihar, which had been affected severely by the recent floods in Assam and other eastern India states. 

"The restoration work is going on on a war footing in all locations. As per the engineering estimate, full connectivity cannot be restored before August 28. However, to alleviate the problems of passengers wanting to leave from the northeast or come in and for the movement of goods the railways have been trying to make some arrangements," he said. 

"As of now, Kishanganj station has been made available for loading of goods/essential commodities. Merchants can now place indents for placement of rakes at Kishanganj. These rakes will be able to carry goods to all parts of North Bengal, Assam and the rest of the northeast," he said on Saturday. 

He said a direct train service has been started between Dalkhola and Dibrugarh which is in addition to the presently running daily special trains between Dalkhola-Guwahati and Guwahati-Dibrugarh. 

With these measures, passengers from the northeast will be able to travel in or out of the region and north Bengal by availing bus connectivity between Dalkhola and Raiganj. Train connectivity is available at both these stations for further journey to their destinations. 

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