More than a million hit by India monsoon floods


Guwahati (India) (AFP)

More than a million people have been affected by flooding in northeastern India, where the death toll over the past week rose to 13, authorities said on Monday.

Flooding is an annual phenomenon in India's northeast, claiming hundreds of lives each year.

"The flood situation is grim in Assam. More than a million people have been hit by this year's" rising waters, Assam Disaster Management Authority's state project coordinator, Pankaj Chakravarty, told AFP.

The state was first hit in mid-May when pre-monsoon rains arrived, causing floods that killed 11 people. Another 20 died in landslides caused by days of incessant downpours.

The floodwaters receded after a few weeks, only to rise again on June 22 at the start of the annual monsoon season.

Almost 29,000 people, mostly in rural regions, have been evacuated from their homes and brought to relief camps, officials said.

About 70 percent of Assam's World Heritage-listed Kaziranga National Park -- home to two-thirds of the world's remaining one-horned rhinos -- was submerged by the floods.

Park director P. Sivakumar said three hog deer died when they were hit by vehicles while trying to escape the inundation.

"With the water level rising, the animals are rushing to higher areas. Many of these animals cross the highway," Sivakumar told AFP.

The monsoon is crucial to replenishing water supplies in South Asia, but also causes widespread death and destruction across the region each year.