GUWAHATI: The devastating flood has left Assam in poor shape with more 50 lakh people affected by it. So far more than 39 people have lost their lives.

The wildlife here is also having a tough time: as many as 59 animals including five endangered one-horned rhinos have died from drowning or other flood-related causes.

Personnel of the Indian Army and the National Disaster Response Force are working round the clock to provide rescue and relief.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority said that approximately 53,52,107 people have been affected.

At present 689 relief camps are operational in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Goalpara, Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Majuli, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Cachar and Karimganj districts. These are sheltering 2,25,737 residents.

The administration has also established 391 Relief Distribution Centres in the districts of Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Udalguri, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Kamrup, Kamrup Metro, Morigaon, Sivasagar, Golaghat and Majuli.

Some of the villagers who have yet to be evacuated have been taking shelter on high ground in their neighbourhood.

“We have been staying at our neighbour’s house for the last several days. It’s endless worries and we are praying for the floodwater to recede soon. We have got some relief materials from the government but drinking water is a major issue as most of the tubewells and wells are underwater now,” said Sunita Das of Jhargaon in Morigaon district.

Although the flood has started receding after a week's devastation, fear of diseases and health-related ailments looms large.

“The floods have rendered thousands of people vulnerable to contaminated drinking water sources. Food sources are limited, access to medicines is restricted, sanitation has been compromised and susceptibility to infections has increased drastically,” said epidemiologist and disaster management expert Naresh Purohit.

He said that in such a situation, the occurrence of diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, fever and skin diseases caused by bacterial and fungal infection is on the rise among those housed in flood relief medical camps.

Assam is already suffering from an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome which has so far claimed more than 200 lives.

Purohit said reports have started coming in of people suffering from diarrhoea, dysentery, fever and severe skin infection in the relief camps.