Death toll mounts as floods in northeast India displace over 2 million people

Death toll mounts as floods in northeast India displace over 2 million people

More than 2.1 million people have been displaced due to floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in the northeastern Indian state of Assam.

At least six people died this week, taking the death toll from heavy downpours since May to 52, the state disaster management authority said on Thursday.

More than 386,000 people are taking shelter in 515 relief camps set up in the 24 flood-affected districts.

The water levels in the Brahmaputra, one of Asia's largest rivers, have dropped marginally, but the flood situation remains grim, a state disaster management spokesperson said.

“Western Assam’s Dhubri and northern Assam’s Darrang are the worst-affected districts where 649,000 and 190,000 people have been displaced.”

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the floods were caused mainly by the breaching of eight embankments and rain in the upstream state of Arunachal Pradesh. "No human intervention can stop it," he said.

The Brahmaputra, which flows 1,280km in Assam state before running through Bangladesh, is one of 13 major rivers flowing above the danger level.

Incessant rainfall this year has made the Brahmaputra, already known for its powerful and unpredictable flow, even more dangerous to live near.

There are more than 2,000 villages settled on islands in the middle of the river.

Animals in the state’s Kaziranga National Park, famed as the home of the one-horned rhino, were moving to higher ground to escape the floods.

At least 31 animals – 30 hog deer and one otter pup – died after flood waters inundated nearly 80 per cent of the reserve.

Forest guards rescued 82 animals, including a baby rhino.

In neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China, landslides have wiped out several roads.

At least seven districts in the central and eastern parts of the state have been completely cut off by landslides and flash floods.

In Bangladesh, downstream from India, nearly 1.8 million people have been impacted by the floods, the nation’s disaster management agency said.