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Indian monsoon floods kill 96 and force one million into relief camps

The death toll in flooding from heavy monsoon rains in India has climbed past 90, with about a million people taking shelter in government-run relief camps, officials have said.

Incessant downpours have damaged swathes of land, uprooted trees and snapped telephone cables in dozens of districts in the states of Bihar in the east, Assam in the remote north-east and Himachal Pradesh in the north.

A total of 96 people have died in the flooding in the three states over the past week, according to state officials.

At least 17 rare one-horned rhinos have been killed due to the flooding of vast tracts of Assam's Kaziranga National Park, said Pramila Rani Brahma, the state's forest and environment minister.

"Most of the rhinos killed are calves, separated from their mothers during the massive flooding," she said.

Floodwater in the park was 5ft (1.5m) deep in some places, forcing many of its animals, also including wild elephants, wild buffalos and boars, to cross a highway to move to higher ground.

The heavy monsoon rains have come after two straight years of drought in India.

On Monday, landslides and heavy rain blocked highways leading to Tibet and Manali, a tourist resort in Himachal Pradesh state, with hundreds of people stranded for several hours before rescuers cleared the way, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

In Bihar state, around 260,000 flood victims were taking shelter in more than 400 relief camps set up by the state government. At least 400 medical camps have been set up as well to aid people who have spent several nights outdoors after their homes were submerged by rainwater.

In Assam, where floodwater started receding on Tuesday, some 3.8 million people have been affected by the floods, according to state authorities. More than 700,000 have taken shelter in 770 relief camps.


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