In Assam, the stories of miseries due to flood remains the same every year resulting to loss of human lives, animals, destruction of agricultural areas, outbreak of diseases and dislocation etc. The state being in the monsoon belt and heavy rainfall which makes Assam two major rivers, Brahmaputra and Barak overflow are some of the reasons for frequent flood in Assam. The recent flood has affected around three lakh people in 33 districts and more than hundred people have been died due to floods and landslides.
The flood situation has improved after the places remained submerged for many days. But still few villages under Cachar district are under the grip of flood. Around two lakh people have taken shelter in different relief camps. Huge crop area, bridges, road, culverts and many houses etc. have been damaged at many places due to flood.
On interacting with some victims of recent flood of Assam, their tale remains a story with full of miseries and pains. How long they will be telling the same narratives every year about the devastating flood?
Irom Bichitra Singha from Bouljur Singari, Cachar district, Assam expressed that she have experienced flood three times in her life.
This year flood is the most devastating one from the flood that occurred in 2004 and 2021. Though the situation of flood has improved in the Silchar Town but her village is still facing the grip of flood. Her whole house has been submerged under for almost 10 days. Her family is staying at a tent house. When there is rain and heavy wind they remain all wet and suffered a lot. They cannot eat and sleep properly and even the poop properly. If they have money also they could not buy the things as there was no means when there was flood in Silchar town. All her furnitures, vehicles, other electric home appliances were also destroyed by the flood. As there was no electricity in her village due to flood, mobile communication fails, they used candle and use the charged lamp only during the time of dinner.
As mobile communication does not work, they failed to communicate among their relatives and friends about the suffering due to flood. She charged her invertor at Silchar Town for Rs 300 that last for three days only. Sick people could not take proper medicine due to unavailability as all the medical stores were all closed and could not visit the hospital for their treatments. Rituals of dead people could not be performed due to flood. She narrated that her children do not study their books since the flood occurred as there is no space for studying. Main problem they faced is about drinking water, they somehow manage with some water being supplied by some civil society organization and others. She felt happy on the help being extended by Manipur government and some social activists from Manipur.
Another person from the same village Arambam Biman Singha lamented that this year flood is recorded as one of the most dangerous flood in 100 yrs in his village as narrated by his elders. As inter-village roads are still not operational they have to go to the nearby market by boat only which is very expensive. Then again they need to go by auto services with multiple increased from the previous fare. The villagers suffered a lot with high transportation charges when they are penniless without earning since the flood affected their village for the last one month. As the village is all under water, the cremation of a dead body cost more than twenty thousand rupees at a safer place. The rituals are performed at a very simple way only for name sake. Till now they have not received any help or relief materials from the state government. This made the villagers suffered more than other villagers. Some villagers remain starving without any earning for many days.
Ngangom Salil from Ramnagar Tuko Village of Cachar district, Assam narrated that the recent flood had affected 90 percent of household of his village which submerged for 15 days. After the flood there is no abundant availability of vegetables in the markets and the price are all increased. As maximum of the houses are all destroyed by the flood, the villagers want some financial help from the government for repairing their houses. As the state witnesses frequent floods, he appealed the concerned authorities to take a long term strategy to control the flood which affect many lives. The matter should not be concerned not only during the flood times, it needs to be concerned before it occurrs. A routine investigation at flood prone areas will also help in control the flood, he added.
Langollakpam Dipen Singha from Malugram Shivbari, Cachar district asserted that he could not earn his living for the last 25 days as his area was under flood. The situation of flood has improved but the condition of his house remains in a bad condition to live in. His house needs repairing as all the walls were destroyed by the flood. During the flood he runs his family from the help being extended by his friends and relatives. He will be thankful to the government if financial assistance could be given for repairing his house.
Wakram Chandrakumar Singh of Rajbari, Jugijan Hojai district, Assam expressed that his village is facing flood for the second time this year. The first flood occurred during May and second flood last month this year. Almost every house in his village is affected by the recent flood. This recent flood is one of the most devastating floods in last 100 years. It washed away all the furniture, clothes, utensils, electrical appliances and others etc. Villagers take shelter at relief camps and railway stations. As there was no electricity, all phone communications were all failed. All the shops were closed during the flood so they faced scarcity of food. They survived by sharing the stocked foodstuffs among the villagers. Medical awareness campaigns are taking place at different places to prevent any outbreak of diseases. The supplied medicines are very limited. The state government supplied drinking water at a very limited quantity. The villagers want the government to assist them in repairing their houses as their houses have been damaged in the recent flood. As there is chance of reoccurrence of flood in the area again maximum of the farmers do not want to start their agricultural works. The villagers are eagerly hoping for helps from the Manipur government, he added.
The flood had affected the education sector in large scale. Mr. Khaidem Amal, Secretary of District Academic Council, Cachar said that the most affected area in Cachar district is Silchar block. 734 government elementary and secondary schools have been badly affected by the recent flood in the district. 221 schools have been utilized as relief camps during the flood. And more than one lakh of both elementary and secondary levels student have been affected by the flood. Works of damage assessments of different schools are still going on. Still the schools are not in a position to resume their classes, it requires sanitization and repairing, he added.
The state needs a holistic strategic plan to smash the never ending miseries of the people due to flood that has been recurring annually for decades. Many experiences and lessons could be learnt from the flood that occurred every year. This would help in bringing up a comprehensive mechanism to control flood thus making the people a great relief from the havoc of flood. Operating an urgent remedial measure is the need of the hour. A collaborative approach is required to lead a happy life free from the any form of disaster.