INCESSANT heavy monsoon rain has triggered severe flooding in Assam, affecting close to 2.6 million citizens with over 2,400 villages inundated as water levels of the Brahmaputra river continue to rise. According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), more than 10,000 homes have been washed away and so far 89 people have lost their lives. The Assam floods have damaged embankments, houses, forests, roads, bridges, etc across the state.
For weeks the raging flood waters that threatened villages on river banks, have now caused widespread damage and displaced people from their homes. And this has seriously hampered efforts to contain the coronavirus spread.
The double disaster of floods & Covid-19
Renowned for its tea plantations and wildlife sanctuary, the northeastern state of Assam is prone to natural disasters like floods and landslides each year during the monsoon season. This year, initial flooding started here in May caused by heavy rainfall and affected people and destroyed crops across districts.
Currently, the flood situation is critical with most of the rivers flowing menacingly above the danger mark. People who have been displaced have taken refuge in relief camps set up across 21 districts. This year’s flood, one of the worst the state has seen, comes at a time when India is struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. With more than 1.2 million confirmed cases in the country, the virus continues to spread rapidly. In the state of Assam, it has infected more than 28,000 people and caused 66 deaths already.
Vulnerable wildlife under threat
The Assam floods have put more than 80% of Kaziranga National Park – a UNESCO world heritage site – under water. Home to the world’s largest population of 2,400 endangered one-horned rhinos, the 414 sqkm park, on the floodplains of the Brahmaputra river, is also known as the Sorrow of Assam. With its lagoons and dense forests, it is also one of India’s best-known wildlife tourism destinations.
Currently, the Assam floods have killed as many as 120 animals including nine rhinos, several wild boar, wild buffaloes and deer in Kaziranga. Many animals were seen migrating to higher places, closer to human settlements after large swathes of the national park lay submerged. Forest officials have been deploying boats to save stranded animals and have rescued around 140 animals so far.
The possibility of further damage and destruction looms as more heavy rainfall is predicted. Help us provide the necessary aid to people, already distressed with the economic fallout of COVID-19, who now face devastating loss due to the Assam floods. With entire villages submerged and loss of income, they struggle for even basic requirements. Your donation will help them with essentials like ration items, tarpaulin, mosquito nets, etc. A little help from you can make a big difference to our flood-affected citizens. Please donate here.
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Samar is a Marketing Communications specialist and freelance writer. She has a master’s in marketing and creativity from ESCP Business School. She is an avid traveler and likes to write about technology, travel, wildlife and sustainability.