INDIA FLOODS.jpg
Photograph: EPA/STR

The official death toll rose to 12 Thursday as devastating floods spread to more than 3,000 villages in India's north-eastern Assam state.

The flooded areas included two national parks that are home to the endangered one-horned rhino, said Amit Singh, an official at the state's Disaster Management Authority control room in Guwahati.

More than 100,000 people have been shifted to relief camps, Singh said. Federal and state disaster management personnel and the Indian Army were helping the district administrations in rescue and relief work.

Eighty per cent of the Kaziranga National Park had been flooded. Animals, including rhinos and hog deer, had been seen moving to hill slopes bordering the park, forest official Suvasish Das said.

Several hog deer and two rhino calf had been rescued, Das said. Kaziranga is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Park officials were also engaged in rescuing villagers marooned by the floods. At least 100 people had been evacuated from their villages so far.

"This time the floods have spread to every district, the situation is very serious," Assam Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma told reporters in Guwahati, Assam's principal city.

The Bramhaputra River was flowing above its danger level and had flooded its embankments in some areas.

The rains, meanwhile, showed no signs of abating with the weather office predicting heavy showers over the next 48 hours.

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