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Assam flood affects one million

G Vinayak in Guwahati | July 08, 2003 15:27 IST

Over one million people in 19 of Assam's 24 districts have been affected in the flood brought about by the rising waters of the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.

Nine persons have died due to drowning and nearly 35,000 hectares of standing crops have been washed away, official sources in Dispur, the state's administrative capital, said.

Road communication has been disrupted at several places.

In the worst affected Dhemaji district, over 60,000 people have been rendered homeless.

In Majuli, the world's largest river island, severe erosion by the rampaging Brahmaputra has forced several thousand people to shift to elevated areas.

In the Kaziranga National Park, home to one-horned rhinos, several animals are shifting to higher areas following flooding of large tracts of the 430sq km park.

According to the Directorate of Health Services, central Assam's Nagaon is the worst affected district recording 24 deaths, followed by Sonitpur with 24.

According to The Assam Tribune, health department officials have collected 650,381 blood samples. Nearly 20,000 people were found to be confirmed malaria cases.

Joint Director Health Service (Malaria) Dr P C Bhattacharya said the department has adequate medicines to deal with the situation and village level drug distribution centres have been opened in the high-risk areas.

He, however, admitted that shortage of staff is a problem, as about 440 posts of surveillance workers at the grassroots level are lying vacant.

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