Millennium Post

No country for flood victims

In every elite university in India, there is something colloquially referred to as a wisdom tree. Here squinty eyed left-liberal intellectuals with a sprinkling of dust over their glasses ponder over the fate of the world while wearing kurtas in bright pastel shades and sipping hot cups of tea. Some of these individuals from aforementioned elite universities will eventually graduate onto becoming talking heads in television studios. In a matter of a few decades like caterpillars morphing into glittering butterflies they will lose the heady idealism of college days and transition into becoming rent-a-quote machines. 

Today the esteemed graduates of these elite universities will discuss a hot topic of the day in one air-conditioned television studio or the other. That hot topic will probably not be the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Assam. It is probably symptomatic of the Indian media’s skewed priorities that this seasonal calamity goes unnoticed once again. The flood situation in Assam worsened today with over 27,000 people affected in more than 70 villages across the North-Eastern state. Assam State Disaster Management Authority (<g data-gr-id="55">ASDMA</g>) stated that an estimated 27,200 people are affected as of now in 72 villages across Barpeta, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Morigaon and Lakhimpur districts. Till yesterday, over 19,000 people were hit across 62 villages under five districts across the state. The highest number of people are hit in Lakhimpur district with over 16,000 persons reeling under flood waters, followed by Dhemaji district with more than 4,600 people affected at present, Nearly 1,600 hectares of crop areas are under water, the report also mentioned.

The death toll in the first wave of floods in Assam remained at three - one each in Bongaigaon, Lakhimpur and Baksa districts. The fact that only three deaths have been reported does not in any way mean that the situation is not potentially dangerous. As the next wave of the monsoons hit Assam the water-logging in Mumbai would pale in comparison pretty quick. And it is in this regard that flood preparedness is essential. Authorities say that the adults in every family should keep <g data-gr-id="45">a emergency</g> kit ready. The emergency kit should contain a portable radio, torch, spare batteries, dry <g data-gr-id="44">food ,umbrella,</g> a pair of clothing, bamboo stick, first aid box, candle, <g data-gr-id="38">match boxes</g> etc. All of them should be wrapped in plastic as its water resistant. Moreover, little children are most vulnerable during floods. It is absolutely essential that they are protected during an unfolding calamity like this. After reviewing the situation, chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday had directed vulnerability assessment of embankments on a war-footing. Gogoi had also asked chief secretary V K Pipersenia to make adequate arrangements for food, medicine and drinking water for the affected people. Floods on the Brahmaputra have been a recurring feature from early times. Despite this, no action is taken or any coherent evacuation plan set into place for prompt execution. 

These floods may be attributed to the involvement of a host of related causes of a natural, hydrometeorological, and anthropogenic nature. But, in recent years floods of the river have become more severe, due to a variety of newly-emerged manmade causes, in addition to those generally recognized. The flood control measures adopted in the basin since the early fifties are all of a short-term and ad-hoc nature <g data-gr-id="33">and</g> in fact, no proper floodplain management program is being implemented. Today another talking head will talk about the policies of the present government, the ruling dispensations talking head will deflect these accusations as the paranoia of the vanquished. Assam meanwhile will lie submerged under the wrath of the Brahmaputra. 
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