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Jul 26, 10:45 AM EDT

Northeast India rains kill 7, force 1.2 million from homes

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GAUHATI, India (AP) -- Heavy rains and floods have killed at least seven people and forced around 1.2 million to leave their water-logged homes in India's northeastern state of Assam.

Army soldiers on Tuesday used boats to rescue thousands of people stranded on the roofs of their homes and moved them to safer areas after incessant rain over the past few days caused widespread flooding in Assam.

The state's disaster management officials said incessant downpours had snapped road and telephone communications in Morigaon, Jorhat and Dibrugarh districts.

Vast tracts of Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhino, and another wildlife reserve were under water. Forest officials said they have found the remains of at least one rhino that had drowned in the flooding in the park.

The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries were overflowing their banks in 18 of the state's districts, washing away roads and highways and toppling power pylons. Floodwaters had entered homes in at least five districts, leading to house collapses.

In some areas, people were marooned on the roofs of buildings and soldiers were moving them to makeshift camps set up in schools and government buildings on higher ground.

Floods are an annual occurrence in Assam and many parts of India during the June-September monsoon season.

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