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Floods: Army rescues 350 children

G Vinayak in Guwahati | July 10, 2004 09:45 IST

Incessant rains have killed six more persons in the north-east even as two helicopters of the Indian Air Force rescued over 350 children marooned in a school after flash floods inundated the school premises in Assam on Friday.

Six persons drowned in various parts of the region taking the toll to 50 in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains that have displaced up to 1.2 million people.

Two MI-17 helicopters of the IAF's Borjhar airbase, evacuated the stranded children from the Navodaya School at Rangiya to a safer location. Over 700 kg of food items contained in 200 packets, besides 240 water bottles were
air dropped by another chopper in three waterlogged villages - Poila, Sandha and Dantola - in Kamrup district.
Police said six persons died in three separate incidents in Assam Thursday night while trying to reach safer areas.

"Three drowned in the Brahmaputra river while trying to cross over to the other bank, while three died in Lakhimpur district," a police spokesman said.

Hundreds of flood-hit people were taking shelter in raised embankments and other makeshift shelters. "The situation has turned critical with torrential rains over the past four days," an official said.
In many places, the Indian Army has begun relief and rescue operations. "Our soldiers are doing their best to assist civilian authorities in rescuing marooned villagers, besides helping in relief measures," an army spokesman said.
A Central Water Commission bulletin said the Brahmaputra and its tributaries were flowing above the danger level at many places. "In some places, the Brahmaputra was flowing more than 2.45 meters above the danger level," the statement said.
Floodwaters have also entered the Kaziranga National Park in eastern Assam. It is home to the largest concentration of the nearly extinct one-horned rhinoceros.
"Floodwaters have entered a vast stretch of the park and some animals have drowned," a park ranger said. "The situation could worsen if the water level does not recede fast."
In Nalbari district, the army has been called out to help in rescue and relief following unprecedented floods and is airlifting marooned families from Tamulpur and evacuating affected families from other areas by machine boats.
More than hundred families have been marooned in Harrang Jungle and Sapatol area in Tamulpur following rise in the water level of Pagladiya river. Fifty families have been rescued from Kadermtale village, submerged by Pagladiya and breaches were reported in Dhaniagog, Sandha and Digheli.
Road communication has been disrupted on National Highway 31 and Hajo-Nalbari Road.
The situation in Sonitpur district is grim with the water level of the Bor-Dikorai, bordering Arunachal Pradesh, rising above the danger level after heavy rainfall in the catchment areas.
In Bilasipara town of Dhubri district, water has submerged the national highway and vehicular traffic was being controlled with no trucks being allowed to pass.
A large number of trees from the forests of Arunachal Pradesh, Naduar Reserve Forest and parts of Nameri National Park have been uprooted and carried by the flood waters on to the main road leading to the neighbouring state, thereby disrupting vehicular traffic.

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