‘Amid Pandemic, Assam Flood Victims Fear Spread of Infection’
Temporary shelters in Hojai and other areas are at high risk with no proper food and arrangements.
Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
Since the end of May, several districts in Assam are reeling under flood. The state’s disaster management authority – Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) – has said that over 3.7 lakh people in seven districts of Assam are affected by the flood. Many people in the Hojai district have been compelled to leave their houses due to the havoc caused.
Due to heavy rainfall in Assam, water level is flowing above the Kapili River in the district resulting in a heavy flood, thereby affecting lakhs of people. The flood has caused widespread damage to homes, rice crops, roads and bridges, while also causing the death of domestic animals.
Those displaced due to flash floods are mostly poor farmers. A few people I spoke to expressed their sadness at losing their homes.
Distressed, 50-year-old Nazrul Islam’s plants in his nursery have been washed away by the flood, causing severe damage to his property and home.
“Plants in my nursery worth around Rs 1.4 lakh are washed away. My house is under water. We are facing many problems due to the flood. We are now staying in temporary shelters built on roads.”Nazrul Islam
The concoction of flood and pandemic has proven deadly. Since many have had to relocate to relief shelters and are sharing space with several others, maintaining social distance is a major challenge.
Assam has already crossed a thousand cases of COVID-19, many fear that the virus may spread fast due to flood. Washim Akram, a student, says that flood havoc is creating difficulties for people to follow social-distancing rules.
“We are mostly unable to follow social distancing rules. The documents, including the documents of the NRC are also damaged due to the flood. The crops that we cultivated are also destroyed,” he tells me.
Lack of help from local leaders adds to locals’ misery even though flash floods are a perennial problem for the state.
“Now, there is no social distancing as we are compelled to stay in camps and the spread of the virus may increase due to the flood. Both political leaders and flood relief have not reached here. There is no permanent solution to deal with the yearly havoc,” says 50-year-old Saifuddin, a teacher in the village.
Temporary shelters in Hojai and other areas are at high risk with no proper food and arrangements. Those in shelters say that no one has helped them at the time of distress. Flood victims are spending nights waiting for water to recede so that they can return in hopes of rebuilding their homes.
(The author is a student of journalism at Sharda University. All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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