Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Two residents of Assam tell us their experience and what they feel about the flood during the lockdown.
The Brahmaputra floods have been a big problem for the people of Assam for a very long time and they have to deal with it every year without acquiring any permanent solutions. Abdul Khuddus a resident of Kamrup district in Assam says people are facing so many difficulties due to the lockdown along with the floods.
Abdul says firstly many houses were damaged and destroyed due to the floods and many important documents of the people were also lost, ‘The houses near the river are engulfed by the water due to erosion and many people become homeless.’ He then speaks about the fields and how the farmers lose almost all their crops due to the flood, ‘Everything they worked so hard for is destroyed.’ People also have a lot of problems taking care of domestic animals.
One of the problems according to Abdul is that the farmers are not allowed to travel from one point to the other due to the lockdown, ‘We cannot even go and sell the crops which were left.’ He says the people selling the food items are taking advantage of the lockdown, ‘They are increasing prices of everything and blaming it on lockdown and saying that they do not have enough items to sell.’ During the flood season, the farmers reap the rice or other items from the fields before the floods hit, ‘Most of the time the farmers lose their crops due to which they have to sow the seeds again, so the cost doubles or triples and there is no profit.’
Abdul says that the poor people are suffering due to the price inflation as they do not have enough money to get the essentials, ‘A lot of people just have rice along with salt as they do not have money for anything else.’ He also says that the government is not doing anything about it, ‘They are not even looking into it or taking any actions.’ Abdul then says that people from the government visit the villages to distribute food, ‘All we get is rice, dal and a little bit of oil. The items are less in quantity and it is not enough for the whole family for even a day.’
Due to the floods, many people cannot live in their houses anymore says Abdul as it is engulfed by water. ‘We do not have any refugee camps in our area’ said Abdul. He then continues, ‘People are living in train stations, temples, as well as schools that are not affected by the flood.’ Abdul says that more people have died due to the floods than due to COVID-19 in Assam, ‘around 30 people died due to COVID-19 but due to flood, more than 50 people died in only two days.’ He then says how the media is not speaking about it is they are giving more importance to the COVID-19 stories.
‘The government does not have any permanent solution to it’ says Abdul while speaking about what the government has done about the floods. He then says that the only aim of the government is elections and they just speak about different schemes, ‘They help few people and they highlight it near the media. They just do the bare minimum required so that they can say that the government has done something.’
Mridul Das a resident of Guwahati, Assam says how the floods happen every year, ‘It is a never-ending issue for us.’ He says how every year people face many difficulties due to the floods but due to COVID-19 the difficulties have been amplified, ‘Some people lost their houses, some lost their jobs, some are having problems with acquiring food for their families and some even lost their lives.’ Mridul says how the prices of food items have increased since the lockdown, ‘An item which was 10 rupees is now 50 rupees and we have to buy it, we do not have any choice.’
‘The government did give food to people but what they are doing is not sufficient’ says Mridul. The government is providing relief to people when the floods happen but according to Mridul, ‘It is not a permanent solution.’ He says how the government can do some much more, but they are not doing it. He then says, ‘I read in the newspaper that the government was thinking of building underground metro lines. There are many important things the government can do instead of doing that.’ They could do something to control the flood and stop the water from destroying villages every year, ‘The government just gives hope to people, but they do not follow up with that.’
Mridul says how the problem that Assam is facing should not just be a state issue, but a national issue and people should be speaking about it more, ‘The mainstream media should be speaking about it more.’ He says how people from all over India come for a vacation to the North East but when Assam is facing major problems, ‘Nobody speaks about it or takes any actions to help the people.’