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Assam floods: Army resources on stand-by for relief operations

PTI Kolkata | Updated on July 17, 2019 Published on July 17, 2019

Flood affected villagers commute to safer places using a boat at Harmoti Village near Assam's Kaziranga National park   -  PTI

There are 152 monitoring stations for providing timely warning of an impending crisis due to floods

In view of the worsening flood situation in Assam, various resources of the Army have been kept on stand-by to assist in rescue and relief operations, a top defence official said on Tuesday.

Lt Gen Naravane, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, who was briefed by various commanders on ground about the preparations for rescue operations, assured of a quick response by the Army for deployment of flood relief tasks.

Five columns of the Army have so far been requisitioned and are assisting in the relief operations, another defence official said.

The Army is closely monitoring the flood situation in coordination with the civil administration, he said.

Army soldiers rescuing people from the flood affected village Debasatra at Jokhalabandha in Nagaon district of Assam on Sunday   -  PTI

There are 152 monitoring stations for providing timely warning of an impending crisis due to floods, the official said.

The Army has alerted flood relief columns which consist of rescue and relief materials, to be prepared for deployment on short notice, he said.

Ninety-five flood relief columns along with additional 31 columns as reserve have been kept on stand-by, the official added.

Kaziranga National Park affected

With over 150 anti-poaching camps in Assam's Kaziranga National Park (KNP_ affected by the Assam floods, the authorities are working round-the-clock to check poaching at the UNESCO World Heritage site, officials said.

The staff and security personnel are performing their duties using mechanised and country boats to deal with any kind of eventualities, they said.

Earlier, a statement from the Assam Ministry of Forest and Environment said that ninety per cent of the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state was still submerged.

Besides forest guards, a State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) team was engaged alongside Assam Police personnel in vulnerable spots of the park, Divisional Forest Officer, Kaziranga National Park (KNP), Rohini Ballab Saikia said

The press communique said 155 of the 199 anti-poaching camps at the KNP are affected by floodwaters.

The Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses. Other animals such as tigers, elephants, sloth bears, monkeys and musk deer are also found in the forest.

Indian one-horned Rhinos stand at an elevated area inside the flood affected Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Thursday   -  PTI

Some of the animals have taken shelter in highlands within the park and many are migrating to the southern highlands of Karbi Anglong, crossing National Highway 37, the statement said.

Though 90 per cent of the KNP is submerged, the water level inside the park and the adjoining NH-37 has receded to some extent, restoring the movement of heavy vehicles on the highway on Tuesday.

However, passenger buses were not being allowed to drive through the park, Saikia said.

Till now, six accidents have been reported on the national highway, causing the death of five Hog Deer and a Sambar, the communique said.

Five other animals in the park are reported to have succumbed to injuries “for various reasons due to flood”, it said.

“Teams for rescue operation of distressed animal, as per necessity, are kept in readiness. The Special Rhino Protection Force is also deployed in vulnerable locations of the park,” the communique said.

Meanwhile, on the directions of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Naba Kumar Doley has rushed to the park to oversee measures being taken to ensure the safety of wild animals, it said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force A M Singh visited several areas of the park to take stock of the situation.

Read: PM takes stock of Assam flood situation; speaks to CM

Another Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Ranjana Gupta, is camping in the park to supervise the operations.

Flood and rescue operation management is being monitored by the chief minister and the forest minister, the release said. Both of them are in constant touch with the park authority for real-time analysis and support, it added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday spoken to Chief Minister Sonowal to take stock of the flood situation, including the condition of the KNP, and assured all possible help and support.

Published on July 17, 2019
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