As If Cyclone, Locust Attack, Wildfires Were Not Apocalyptic Enough, We Now Have Floods in Assam


As If Cyclone, Locust Attack, Wildfires Were Not Apocalyptic Enough, We Now Have Floods in Assam

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

There seems to be no shortage of apocalyptic headlines this year. India is concurrently dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal and Odisha, an invasion of desert locusts in North and West India, and now, also devastating floods in the Northeast, particularly the state of Assam.

Since Monday, May 25, floodwaters in Assam have been rising after heavy rains. As of Tuesday evening, reports have stated that over two lakh people have been affected by the floods. Seven districts in Assam have been affected, namely Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Goalpara, Dibrugarh, and Tinsukia.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has set up relief camps across the affected districts. According to ASDMA, nearly 9,000 people are currently taking shelter at the relief camps. These floods have arrived at a time when Assam is also witnessing a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state.

Varnali Deka, Deputy Commissioner of Goalpara district, said that the relief camps are being organised keeping social- distancing norms in mind. “This time the camps are more spaced out. Where there would be one camp before now there are two so that social-distancing norms can be followed,” he added.

The devastation of the floods has not just affected the people of Assam, but also the state’s farmlands and infrastructure. As per ASDMA, 579 hectares of crop fields have been destroyed, as well as roads and bridges lost due to erosion in Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, and Udalguri districts.

Photos and videos of the effects of the floods have made their way into the media and online. Flooding is a recurring problem in Assam – the state witnesses heavy rains followed by flash floods every year.

The situation is unlikely to improve at the moment. On Tuesday, the Central Water Commission sounded a flood alert for the Brahmaputra river as the rain continued to lash the state.

It seems like the natural disasters this year keep on coming. Hopefully, Assam is able to weather the storm.