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Assam Floods: An annual affair

Every year the floods arrive, bring devastation. ‘Reliefs’ arrive, bring consolation. Nothing changes. Water recedes. Drowned for months, the land emerges, drained of life. Hordes of living skeletons teeter on this dead land to build a life again.

It could be this week’s despatch from Assam. But it is not.

There are some major reasons for these floods:

  1. Climate Change-  Climate Change is real, but we are making it worse.
  2. Embankments- The role of the embankment is to prevent the area from flooding but improper construction leads to severe problems like in the case of Assam.
  3. Poor construction- Poor construction strategies lead to embankment breaching, which could be a result of a lack of embankment maintenance or constructions without proper study of the nature of the river.
  4. Urbanization- In the name of urbanization and development, construction is being done on the floodplain. Floodplains are the area adjacent to the river which holds sediments and flood water.

Other than these several natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides also lead to floods. The unregulated release of water from dams is also one of the causes of floods. Some hill-cutting projects are also responsible for the disaster.

Every year these floods kill lakhs of people, thousands of animals, destroy their homes. Frequent floods cause residential disturbances. People have to move every time the place is hit by a disaster.

Flood 2021 begins: The first wave of floods in the State has made its impact in many areas of the State.

According to the report received from Assam State Disaster Management Authority as of now, six districts have been affected: Biswanath, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Majuli, Bongaigaon, and Dhemaji.

Besides that, around 30,000 people of the 36 villages are affected in just the last ten days.

Reports also reveal – Three embankments have been breached – two in Biswanath Chariali district and one in Nalbari district. Two other embankments have been damaged at Kalaigaon and Singhimari in the Udalguri district. A road each has been damaged in Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Dhemaji, and Nalbari districts.

Assam’s fight against the floods year like to battling nature’s brute force against whom even the most cutting edge research and science often fall short?

What does the State do to tackle this?

Rivers in Assam, including the Brahmaputra, are embanked in places. During the monsoon, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and NGOs identify drylands in upper regions and organize shelters for people living in low-lying areas. Those affected often take shelter in schools, which remain shut till the situation improves.

Long Term Solution according to the Experts-  it is “not possible to flood-proof the whole of Assam.” However, here are a few measures that can be followed:

  1. Rejuvenation of wetlands
  2. Reconstruction of embankments,
  3. Decentralized weather forecast.


Also Read: Mission Flood Free Guwahati: Active new GMC Commissioner on wee hours



What do you think?

Written by Pallavi Saikia


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