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Floods leave Assam in the lurch, claims more than 68 lives

Floods, an overflow of water on usually dry ground, is one of the important natural phenomena to keep the soil fertile and mineral-rich.

Floods leave Assam in the lurch, claims more than 68 lives

In recent years, some of the very disastrous floods have been witnessed by humanity and especially India. Bihar and Assam floods of 2019 were one such natural disaster. Human action has a significant role to play in the sudden rise in the intensity of floods. The rise in the temperature of earth has been one such reason.

Floods in 2020 coupled with a highly contagious pandemic like COVID-19 have become a tool of mass destruction. 

More than 68 killed in Assam floods after two more people died on Thursday morning, according to the State Disaster Management Authority. More than  48,07,111 people were affected across 30 districts due to floods in the state, as of July 15. Around 487 relief camps have been set up by the district administrations in which over 1.25 lakh people have taken shelter.

According to the Central Water Commission, all major rivers are flowing over the danger level, while there is a severe flood situation at 12 stations and “above normal flood situation” in six stations. 

Bihar has been one of the worst-hit states by the COVID-19 pandemic induced reverse-migration and now with Koshi River raining havoc on the citizens, living conditions are only worsening. On 16th July, news came that a newly constructed bridge(29 days) collapsed due to the flood.

Importance of floods

Flooding is very important for agriculture and the life cycle of many plants and animals. Floods are necessary for the wetlands, aquifers and billabongs. They are important for replenishing water bodies. Flood water also carries valuable nutrients and minerals important for agriculture.

Why are there floods every year in these regions?

The glaciers melted down during the summer intensifies the town streams which causes floods annually but this phenomenon is a natural for this region. Earlier the first clothing’s used to be welcomed as they made the lands fertile. The excess of the floor is the actual problem and another problem is the embankment that has been made by the successive governments. The US civil engineer Charles Elliott junior cautioned in 19 century that embankments confined rivers and caused them to rise higher and flow faster. 

For example, if an embankment has been constructed for a city or for a village, the water level will rise there and it will facilitate high-intensity flow where the embankment ends. The places where embankment ends have to face almost double the Intensity of wrath of rivers. The frequent landslides and faulty drainage have weakened the embankment systems and almost 80% of these embankments are also very poorly managed.

Rampant deforestation, hill cutting, climate change, increase in the temperature of the earth, and population explosion are some of the major factors contributing to the massive loss of life due to this disaster. Due to the huge population, people are being forced to live near the embankments and the River Valley. The effect of the climate change on the eastern Himalayas has caused the glaciers to melt faster, which has further worsened the situation.

Estimated financial loss due to the floods crossed more than 3200 CRORES in Assam only the estimated loss of land is almost 8000 kilometres square due to erosion by flooding every year. It is being said that the flood is essential for the survival of Kaziranga National Park which is world-famous for its one-horned rhino. Now floods killed one-horned rhino more than poachers, the animal deaths have also been increasing with the numbers in 2017 was 503 and is constantly increasing.

Solutions

One of the major solutions that can be easier is better flood forecasting. People can learn from the experiences of Odisha as they have developed a very good idea structure or the forecasting structure for the cyclones and in the last year they have saved laxer people from the cyclone FANI. Unnecessary construction on river beds or of embankments must be stopped.

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