In India, it is raining non-stop. Thousands of villages are already flooded. This makes the fight against Corona more difficult.
Residents of a village in the eastern Indian state of Bihar make their way through the floodwater Photo: DPA
Staff members of the Kaziranga National Park in northeastern India sit and stand in two canoes. Between the boats, a large gray hump rises out of the water. The men can no longer recover the stray armored rhino alive. "Since the first week of June, we haven’t had a break. One tidal wave chases the next," says the reserve’s director, P. Sivakumar. More than 120 wild animals have perished in the national park so far, including at least ten belonging to the endangered rhino species.
But it is not only in Assam’s national park that the situation is currently devastating since the mighty Brahmaputra River and its tributaries burst their banks. About five million people are estimated to have been affected by the floods. More than 123 inhabitants died in the state of Assam. They drowned or were caught in a landslide.
The persistent monsoon rains have not only flooded parts of India; Bangladesh and Nepal are also struggling with rising floods. More than 2,500 villages are under water in Assam alone – and the rains continue.
For health workers on Corona assignment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach people in the flooded areas. On the ground, aid workers then encounter the problem that the symptoms of Covid-19 and malaria are usually almost indistinguishable. The official Corona cases currently amount to almost 1.4 million infections in India.
Elephants also flee from the water masses
The floods are making the situation even worse. Standing water can quickly become a source of epidemics. Among other things, mosquitoes are spreading, which can transmit dangerous meningitis.
Moreover, not only rhinos get lost in the floods, but also elephants or tigers flee from the water masses and cause damage to villages.
Environmentalists point out that climate change has not only altered the patterns of the monsoon – at the same time, glaciers in the Himalayas are melting faster, causing river levels to rise further.