Indian officials say the death toll from floods caused by heavy monsoon rains has risen to 96 people, with about a million leaving their homes and taking shelter in relief camps.
The fatalities have been recorded over the past week in the eastern State of Bihar, Assam State in the remote northeast as well as Himachal Pradesh State in the north, officials said Tuesday.
The heavy rains have damaged vast areas of land, toppled trees and snapped telephone cables in scores of districts in the three affected states.
The flooding has also killed at least 17 rare one-horned rhinos as vast tracts of Kaziranga National Park in Assam were submerged, said the state’s forest and environment minister, Pramilla Rani Brahma.
“Most of the rhinos killed are calves, separated from their mothers during the massive flooding,” she added.
Meanwhile, nearly 260,000 people have taken shelter in over 400 government-run relief camps in Bihar State, the authorities said.
More than 700,000 have also taken shelter in 770 relief camps in Assam where flooding has affected 3.8 million people. The floodwaters reportedly began to recede in the state on Tuesday.
On Monday, landslides and heavy rainfalls closed highways leading to Tibet and the resort town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh, leaving hundreds of people stranded for several hours before rescuers managed to clear the way, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Flooding and landslides triggered by torrential monsoons claim scores of lives every year in India, as well as in neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh.
Dozens were killed in flash floods that hit the northern regions of India earlier this month. Heavy downpours also affected the central state of Madhya Pradesh, killing at least 15 people.