Assam Flood Crisis: Over Half a Million Affected, Death Toll Rises to 14; but Politicians Remain Out of Sight

The ASDMA reports that severe flooding in Assam has affected 5,35,246 people across 13 districts, with the death toll rising to 14.
Assam Flood Crisis: Over Half a Million Affected, Death Toll Rises to 14; but Politicians Remain Out of Sight

New Delhi: The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has revealed a distressing scenario: 535,246 people across 13 districts are still grappling with severe flooding, with the death toll now at 14.

The crisis is exacerbated by three major rivers — Kopili, Barak and Kushiyara — relentlessly flowing above danger levels.

Among the affected areas, Nagaon is the hardest hit, with 303,567 people struggling to cope. Cachar and Hojai follow closely, with 109,798 and 86,382 people respectively enduring the flood's devastating impact.

According to official estimates, 14 people have lost their lives in the floods that have inundated parts of Assam. The State Disaster Management Authority reported three additional deaths on June 2, bringing the death toll to 14 since May 28.

The relentless waters have upended lives, inundating homes and fields and isolating entire communities.

In response to this unprecedented disaster, rescue and relief operations have been mounted on an immense scale. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and local administration are working around the clock.

Their efforts are bolstered by the deployment of medical teams to attend to the urgent health needs of those stranded in the floodwaters.

The infrastructure damage is extensive. Roads have been submerged, bridges washed away, and countless properties destroyed.

The relentless rise of the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries has compounded the misery, affecting over half a million people across 13 districts in just five days.

The situation in the Barak Valley region is particularly alarming, prompting the airlifting of additional NDRF personnel to support the overwhelmed local efforts. Yet, despite these reinforcements, the flood situation remains dire.

On June 1, the Northeast Frontier Railway canceled at least 18 trains due to damaged tracks and waterlogged stations, severing vital connections between Silchar, Tripura, and the rest of the country, adding to the region's isolation and distress.

The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) has identified the cause of this disaster: the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, which struck on May 28. The cyclone's effects have been compounded by the early arrival of the southwest monsoon in the Northeast. Unfortunately, the Met Department's forecast offers little respite, predicting continued rainfall until June 4.

Local Perspectives and Responses

The Mooknayak reached out to Raju Bora, state president of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti.

"While the government began working on flood mitigation by improving drainage systems in 2022, the work has not been consistent. They worked based on electoral profitability," he said.

"Even so," the social activist added, "The work has not been scientifically done; otherwise, we would not have seen a situation like this."

Bora expressed his frustration, noting that many crops and fields have been destroyed by the incessant rains and flooding. "Our MLAs have not yet come to address our issues," he lamented.

Jeetu Goswami, the MLA of Barampur constituency, which includes Raju Bora's area, has been notably absent. Similarly, Sashi Kanta Das, the MLA of Raha constituency, has also not engaged with the people yet.

Advocate Sufian Ahmed from Hailakandi district of Lower Assam echoed these sentiments. He asserted that during the flooding, he did not see any local politician taking an active role to help the affected people.


Government Response

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the families of those who lost their lives due to the natural disasters following Cyclone Remal in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, and West Bengal. Additionally, Rs 50,000 will be provided to those injured in the aftermath of the cyclone.

The Prime Minister's Office shared on 'X' (formerly Twitter), "An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF will be given to the next of kin of each deceased due to the natural disasters in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, and West Bengal. The injured will receive Rs. 50,000 each: PM."

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his gratitude to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on social media. On May 31, he wrote on the microblogging website that Amit Shah had called to inquire about the situation and assured the full support of the Government of India during these challenging times. "We are grateful for his proactive efforts," the Chief Minister wrote.

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