Poverty makes flood situation in Assam worse
Guwahati, July 7: Almost the entire Assam looks like a marooned island as rain continues to submerge more and more areas across the state. As per the latest figures, a total of 24 people have lost their lives in the ongoing floods with three more deaths reported on Thursday. All the latest three victims are children.
According to the report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), Sankar Doley, 10, drowned in the Subansiri at Guwalbari village in Lakhimpur district of Upper Assam on Wednesday.
In central Assam, 10-year-old Drupati Chauhan drowned in floodwaters of the Brahmaputra at Samaguri in Nagaon district and Sumaya Khatun, 7, drowned in the Kopili at Mayong in Morigaon district on Wednesday.
A total of around 4 lakh people have been affected by the current wave of floods, leaving 15 districts in the state inundated.
Officials and activists working for the relief and rescue operations in the state say that the entire flood situation becomes worse because most of the affected are poor people.
"The flood-affected areas in Assam are poverty pockets and most vulnerable to natural and manmade hazards. The affected people could be further pushed into poverty if immediate assistance is not provided. Currently, there are very few agencies responding to this crisis and the coming 30 days are crucial as rainfall continues," Oxfam India chief executive officer Nisha Agrawal told The Telegraph.
On Thursday, Oxfam India--an aid and development charity agency-started providing relief materials to seven flood-affected districts in the state.
On the first day of its work with flood victims, the NGO provided food, drinking water, sanitation and public health, and temporary shelter support in Lakhimpur in Upper Assam and Karimganj in south Assam's Barak Valley.
In the coming days, Oxfam will also provide relief in Jorhat, Golaghat, Cachar, Dhemaji and Biswanath districts.
Telecom major Vodafone on Thursday said it is offering 50 minutes' free talk-time to its customers to contact anyone in case of emergencies. "With monsoon in full force in the Northeast, many areas are flooded. To help people, we are offering 50 minutes' free talk-time to all our customers in the affected areas in the region," Vodafone India business head (Assam & Northeast) Nidhi Lauria said.
Oxfam India is also planning to provide relief materials in neighbouring Manipur, where flood situation is grim too. In Assam, the worst affected is Karimganj district, where over 1.8 lakh people have been impacted, followed by Lakhimpur, with over 81,000 people in need of assistance.
The Karimganj district authorities are running 66 relief camps where 14,536 people have taken shelter while 46 relief distribution points have been set up.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday directed the revenue and disaster management department and district administrations to reach out to the affected people and step up relief and rescue operations. He also sanctioned ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each for the family members of those killed in the current floods within 48 hours.