There is a saying amongst us in Dhemaji. We say, ‘If you want to see floods, come here! if you have never come here then you’ve not seen floods at all..!!!”. Every word of the saying stands true in Dhemaji-perhaps the most flood affected district in India. It would not be an exaggeration to say, the world.
Every year, without fail, floods visit Dhemaji, especially the villages in an around Sissi-tongani. Though, the timings of it has become pretty erratic, due to global warming and climate change, it does come, no matter what. For instance, this year floods has come in August, which is a period, when generally the area begins to dry out. Or the second flash floods come. Much of the rainfall did not occur in the June and the july months, which had tremendous impact on the Agricultural cycle. When people were almost fearing a drought like situation, came the rains. And it came in such a way that dhemaji saw heavy rains for weeks. Rivers soared up, Brahmaputra swelled, dykes were broken and villages swept away. Many people are rendered homeless and are currently taking shelter in relief camps.
Some heart wrenching pictures of the flood situation in Sissi-Tongani are shared here.
A broken Dyke, cutting off all means of communications for the villagers.
With the increasing volume of water, comes in heavy erosions. The land mass continue to decrease for the flood affected communities, depriving the poor villagers of their land.
Homes are either swept away or are under water
While people wait for help..!!! Banana boats becomes the only means of transportation. Because often, the villagers are so poor that they even cannot afford a decent wooden boat. Only the few wealthy have it.
More then often, help is always late. Here people are transported to relief camps. Mostly sheltered in schools and colleges, with not enough amenities, people are forced to living in abysmal conditions.
One of the worst impacted are cattle and domesticated animals. Rearing pigs, cows, chicken and goats etc. are one of the few sources of income for the people in these villages. The income often received through selling young piglets, chicken or cows are often received once a year. And with floods becoming a yearly phenomenon, many are swept away or die due to weaknesses, leaving the people with no income. All the efforts made throughout the year goes in waste.
Interestingly, floods have made many richer by the year in Assam. Many CSOs have documented the flood management tactics of the Assamese people, especially the indigenous communities like Misings and have brought in Millions. But these funds never reach them, while those who document their tactics are seen as ‘messiahs of flood management’ in the outside world.
With little help from the govt. or the other organizations, for them, every day is fight. A fight for survival..!!!