Assam floods displace lakhs, CM points to China’s role in mitigation

More than 25,000 people live in relief camps, while 3.61 lakh others have sought refuge on embankments and other makeshift shelters.

The flood situation in Assam has turned catastrophic, affecting over 18 lakh people across 2,800 villages in 29 districts.

The floods have claimed at least 46 lives, and with rain alerts still active for most districts, the crisis shows no signs of abating. More than 25,000 people live in relief camps, while 3.61 lakh others have sought refuge on embankments and other makeshift shelters.

Criticism of Assam’s Flood Management

Critics, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), have strongly criticised the government’s handling of the flood situation. They argue that poor-quality embankment constructions and inadequate preparedness have exacerbated the disaster.

Image Source: Sentinel Assam

One significant breach occurred at Hatimara on the Kolong River, flooding areas that had not experienced such devastation in seven years. Mriganka Shekhar Bharali of AASU highlighted the breach, stating, “Due to the insincerity of the work by engineers, contractors, and the government, a very important embankment broke, leading to the flooding of the entire area and affecting thousands of people.”

Minister Keshab Mahanta acknowledged the natural disaster’s impact but defended the government’s response, stating, “Flood is a natural disaster, and when it comes, a lot of embankments are broken, not just here but in the entire state. An inquiry will be conducted into the breach of the embankment.”

On the ground, the situation is grim. CNN-News18 reporters witnessed people in self-arranged relief camps protesting against the uneven distribution of flood relief. Phulamala Das, an 80-year-old resident, lamented the lack of government preparedness, saying, “We have not seen floods in the last seven years. How could we be prepared for something like this? The government should have been ready. They knew that water was slipping through the sluice gate but did nothing to fix it.”

Another flood victim, Ila Kalita, described the overnight devastation that left her and her family without a home. “Water entered our house overnight and washed away everything. We are farmers, and our paddy fields are destroyed. All our livestock have been swept away. We are now living on the road, trying to save our lives. We have received zero relief material from the government,” she said.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma provided a broader view on the flood problem, blaming the periodic floods on water flow from Arunachal Pradesh, which is also affected during these periods.

He highlighted that the problem could only be solved if China constructed massive reservoirs along the border to manage water flow. “Until China builds massive water reservoirs on their side of the border, we would be unable to avert floods in Assam. It will also flow from Assam into Bangladesh. But what can Assam do about this? “We are suffering ourselves,” Sarma said.

Sarma inspected several flood-affected districts and reiterated the need for international cooperation to address the recurring floods. Despite his assurances, the immediate concern for many residents remains the lack of adequate relief and support from the government.

As the floodwaters continue to rise and rain alerts persist, Assam’s major rivers remain above danger levels, posing ongoing challenges for the state’s residents. The government faces increasing pressure to not only provide immediate relief but also to develop long-term solutions to prevent such disasters in the future.

You might also be interested in – Assam Police Seize Drugs Worth ₹48 Crore in Sivasagar and Karbi Anglong, Three Arrested in Separate Operations


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