The Assam government has asked a delegation of different faiths to suggest measures to prevent recurring floods and mitigate the sufferings of the victims in the state.
The second wave of floods that came in July has claimed 84 lives and affected over 25 lakh people in 29 districts in the state.
Deaths occurred mostly due to electrocution and drowning, said Rajesh Prasad, Revenue Secretary and CEO of the State Disaster Authority.
Two more flash floods are expected before October, Prasad warned in an interaction with the representatives of the Inter Faith Group., Rajesh Prasad, Revenue Secretary and CEO of the State Disaster Authority, said that
The team headed by Professor N Vinod Chandra Menon, founder member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), included Father Frederick D’ Souza, executive director of Caritas India, Swamini Adityananda Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Brother Arun Kumar of Brahma Kumaris, Mount Abu, and Sibghatullah Ahmed of Islamic Relief India.
Prasad urged the delegation to visit a location in the most-affected districts of Lakhimpur and Majuli and create awareness among the affected about the after-effects of floods like water-borne diseases. He assured them the government’s all support.
“Since it is an annual occurrence, the government always warns people about the floods and advise them to move to upper areas, but they often ignore it,” Prasad said. He added that the disaster is more when the floods come at night, endangering the life and property of the people. What people then need is immediate help.
In order to get the efforts successful, Prasad advised the team to involve local communities in the work. He said if the efforts are fruitful, these can be replicated in other districts and in states like Gujarat, Bihar etc. The villagers should be taught about the dos and don’ts during floods and post-floods, he said.
Prasad also that in the most-affected areas, river comes to the level of land due to siltation, deforestation, ecological imbalance, way of life, change of farming methods, etc. He also stressed the need of early procurement of foods for distribution among the affected. He added that Rs.5,000 crore to Rs.10,000 crore are spent yearly on floods.
He suggested the group to propose a permanent solution so that this amount can be saved. The state has 5,000 km of embankment. He also said that Majuli district is a UNESCO heritage site.
Prasad said due to communication problems, even central relief cannot be distributed in the worst-affected districts. As roads are damaged and electrical posts are fallen, contacting relief workers too becomes difficult.
The team members offered their expertise in training villagers, civil society members, government staff and women at district as well as state level. They said after the training they people can easily become trainers to other volunteers. The team also called on Chief Secretary Vinod Kumar Pipersenia.
The delegation also distributed water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) kits donated by Caritas India, the relief arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, to 1,600 families in the worst-affected villages of Moregaon district. The kit consisted of bucket with lid – 2 (20 lit), plastic mugs – 2 (1 lit), Savlon antiseptic – 1 (100 ml,) Lifebuoy bathing soaps – 5 (125 grams), Rani washing soap – 4 (150 grams), soap case – 1, NCDCC tablet strips – 5, cotton coloured clothes – 4 meter, toothpaste – 2 packets, toothbrush – 5, making cloth – 1 meter.