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Flood scene improves, death toll rises to 59


GUWAHATI, July 15 - The overall flood situation in the State is improving with the number of villages affected coming down to 1,795 from yesterday�s 2,240. However, with reports of seven more deaths from different flood-hit areas, the toll has gone up to 59.

According to the evening flood bulletin of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the population affected by floods stood at 11.93 lakh in 24 districts, while around 24,000 people are taking shelter in 123 relief camps. Over 50 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park is still under water, affecting 93 anti-poaching camps, it said.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the State government will provide textbooks to school students who have lost them during the current wave of floods.

�Students from Class I to X whose books have been damaged or lost during the floods can inform their school headmasters before July 25. We will get the requirement from the districts by July 30 and we hope we will be able to provide the textbooks by August-end,� Sarma said.

Sarma, who also holds the Health portfolio, said the district administrations have been directed to conduct extensive medical camps to prevent any outbreak of diseases after the floodwaters recede.

�The administrations have been directed to work extensively on providing safe drinking water to the flood-affected areas. We have also appealed to the private sector to hold health camps in the flood-hit areas,� he said, adding the Veterinary Department has also been asked to step up relief for animals.

He claimed that for the first time fodder has been provided by the government for the flood-hit animals in Kaziranga. He reiterated that there is no dearth of funds for flood relief and the Deputy Commissioners have been asked to spend �liberally�.

The minister further said that as per a report till 10 this morning, 71 bridges have been damaged and 12 embankments breached in the floods. �Work on them will start immediately after the floods. We have asked the respective departments to provide the project reports by August 15 so that work can start by September/October,� he said.

Sarma also said the DCs have been asked to increase the number of relief distribution points so that the materials reach the maximum number of people. �Some people are reluctant to leave their homes and are not staying in the relief camps. The materials are not reaching these people,� he admitted.

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