In Assam, incessant heavy rain has thrown life into shambles in numerous sections of the state during the past few days. Floods and mudslides induced by exceptionally heavy rainfall in the northeastern areas have killed at least 12 people. Floods in Assam have uprooted over 2 lakh people across 20 districts, with the hilly district of Dima Hasao being cut off from the rest of the state due to this natural disaster. The region has been experiencing extreme rain for the past few weeks which is expected to continue for the next few days.
Several railway stations have been closed, according to Nazreen Ahmed, a top official in Dima Hasao, and people in the district are completely cut off due to washed-away roads and bridges.
In numerous locations of Dima Hasao, roads, bridges, and homes have been completely or partially destroyed. Communication lines have been cut as well. The official bulletin said that “Due to landslides, the district cannot be approached from outside. All roads and railways leading to Haflong is blocked since May 15.”
Rescue activities in flood-affected areas have been carried out by the NDRF, SDRF, Fire and Emergency Services, as well as residents.
Additionally, four individuals were killed in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday as a result of severe rain and mudslides. Two more people passed away when their homes on a small hillside in the state capital, Itanagar, fell, and two road construction workers were killed by mudslides in another locality. In Assam, four more persons were reported to be deceased.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasts that heavy rains will persist in the region for at least the next four days.
Samarjit Haflongbar, a Congress leader from the Haflong district, spoke with NewsClick and voiced some serious concerns blaming stone mining as one of the biggest contributors towards the disastrous floods. “The main cause of extraordinary floods in the areas besides the rivers is the uncontrolled extraction of stones, boulders and river material (sand) from river beds. Earlier also, there were such extractions, but in a controlled way. Moreover, earlier, these extractions were carried out manually. Now, heavy machinery is being used for this purpose, and as a result, the river beds are strained and misbalanced, and we see the furious currents of water,” he said.
Uttam Bathari, an associate professor with the history department at Gauhati University, agreed. “Stone mining has escalated massively in recent times. The use of heavy machinery in doing so has rendered the river beds to undergo a sudden change in many places of the rivers,” he stated.
Regarding assistance from the government, one resident said that “Only one notification we have got from the Deputy Commissioner which says to not get out of our houses till the rain stops.”