Jul 30, 8:28 AM EDT

Monsoon floods kill at least 52 people in India


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GAUHATI, India (AP) -- Indian authorities on Saturday tried to rescue thousands of people stranded in flooded villages after a week of heavy rain killed at least 52 people and uprooted tens of thousands of others from their homes in the states of Assam in the remote northeast and Bihar in the east.

Twenty-six deaths have been reported in Assam, where incessant downpours have damaged roads and snapped telephone cables in several districts, a government statement said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh flew over the worst-hit areas on Saturday and said the floods were "very serious."

Twenty-six deaths also have been reported in Bihar due to drowning and home collapses in 10 districts bordering Nepal.

The Bihar state government was running more than 350 relief camps providing food and other necessities to the flood victims. The federal government-run National Disaster Response Force was helping with relief efforts.

Vast tracts of Assam's Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhino, and another wildlife reserve were under water, the state government said in a statement. Forest officials found the remains of six rhinos drowned by floodwaters in Kaziranga, the statement said. Another rhino was killed in another national reserve in the state.

The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries were overflowing their banks in 18 of Assam's districts, washing away roads and highways and toppling power pylons. Floodwaters entered homes in at least 14 districts, leading to house collapses.

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

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