Two killed in lightning, 10,000 displaced in Assam floods

May 16th, 2010 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, May 16 (IANS) A newly-married couple was killed in a lightning strike while flash floods triggered by heavy rains displaced more than 10,000 people in 25 villages in Assam Sunday, officials said.
A police spokesperson said the couple died Sunday when lightning struck their home in village Bokulguri in Nagaon district, about 160 km east of here.

“The two died instantly as their thatched hut was severely damaged in lightning,” the official said.

Meanwhile, flash floods inundated 25 villages in Lakhimpur district with the Brahmaputra river breaching two embankment.

“So far about 10,000 people have been displaced with many taking shelter on raised platforms,” an official said.

Floodwaters of the mighty Brahmaputra also entered the 430 sq km Kaziranga National Park in Assam forcing scores of endangered animals to flee the park to safer areas, officials said.

“More than half of the park is under water. Animals are migrating from the sanctuary to an adjoining hill for safety,” a park warden said.

Kaziranga is home to the world’s largest concentration of one-horned rhinoceros. As per the 2009 census report, some 2,000 of the world’s estimated 3,000 one-horned rhinos live in the park.

Meanwhile, the park authorities have enforced prohibitory orders directing truckers to drive slowly on the national highway that winds through the park.

“Special barricades have been put along the highway. Forest guards are asking drivers to drive at speeds under 40 km an hour as the animals use the highway to cross over to the hills to escape the floods,” the park warden said.

A large number of animals, including deer, get mowed down by speeding trucks while crossing the highway to escape the annual floods. At least 70 animals, including rhinos and wild buffaloes, were drowned in 2004.

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