Although flooding in Assam is not an uncommon occurrence, it’s always painful to see the devastation and havoc that is unleashed upon the region’s residents. Since Tuesday, as per reports, Assam has seen no respite from the rainfall, the death toll has risen to 18 people and over 18 lakh individuals have been affected by the deluge. Additionally, 22 districts have been flood-hit and over 2.13 hectares of crops have been lost due to the flooding. While rescue efforts have begun with the Indian Army on the front lines, multiple groups have offered their support in rescuing women, children, wildlife along with the community coming together to provide services.
Why has this happened?
According to a study called the Assam State Disaster Management Plan (ASDMP), “All the rivers in Assam are liable to floods, mainly because they receive heavy rainfall within a short time. These rivers are in their early stage of maturity and are very active agents of erosion. The river waters collect a tremendous amount of silt and other debris and raise the level of the river beds. Therefore, it becomes impossible for the main channel to cope with the vast volume of water received during the rains” Fortunately, there are groups that are helping despite this disadvantage.
On Ground Reality
As reported by the Guardian, over 1.6 million people have been displaced and moved into 300 makeshift relief camps for the time being with tremendous relief efforts by the Indian Army, NRDF and SDRF personnel. According to the report, many villagers were forced to abandon their homes and livestock, using homemade rafts from banana trees; others were rescued by soldiers from their rooftops.
According to India Times, the army has deployed an Eastern Command with several units for flood relief operations-- each team consists of 50 personnel, along with engineer assets and speed boats -- relief operations are ongoing as rainfall is expected for the next 48 hours.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, accompanied by water resources minister Keshab Mahanta and rural development minister Naba Kumar Doley, visited Majuli Island on Thursday, which was one of the worst-hit areas, to review rescue operations and take stock of the situation. Reports also state that Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will be providing free wagons for transportation of relief materials to the districts, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh is also set to visit Assam on Saturday to assess the situation. An aerial flood survey was also conducted, according to
Times of India, though details are still being documented.
We Haven’t Forgotten Our Animals
Home of the beautiful Kaziranga National Park, Assam is an abode to two-thirds of the world’s population of one-horned rhinoceros. Due to the severe flooding, many wild animals have begun seeking shelter on roads out of fear. At least one rhinoceros was killed in the rains, as stated by forest officials to the Guardian. A joint team comprising of members from the Assam forest department and Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) has rescued eight baby rhinoceros from Kaziranga National Park. “All the calves were aged between one month and a year and were found separated from their mothers after being washed away in the floods. Some of them are suffering from severe trauma,” added Rathin Barman, Deputy Director of Wildlife Trust of India that runs the CWRC. He added that apart from the one-horned rhinoceros, the team has also rescued around 50 hog deer so far.
While government relief operations continue, it’s important that we do whatever little we can to help those affected by the floods and we’ve posted below important numbers with more information on how you can get involved, courtesy of Scoopnest.
Feature image courtesy of Dasarath Deka
Words: Divija Mohan