Nearly three lakh people in nine districts of Assam have been affected by
the season’s ‘first flood, triggered by cyclone Amphan, wreaking havoc in
the state. Floods affect a majority of Assam’s 33 districts each year and
displace several lakhs of people and are not unusual to this part of the
country, especially during monsoons.
This year, however, the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) has caused the
situation to become worse. The looming threat of COVID-19 in the flood
relief camps set up by the administration threatens to push the already-
vulnerable to a higher risk. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority
(ASDMA) has issued a fresh set of guidelines for the management of flood
relief camps in the state this year. The new guidelines have urged the
district authorities to identify additional relief camps as per population
density of villages to earmark space for social distancing norms. Earlier 3.5
square metres of space in relief camps were earmarked for each person.
However, the allotted space will be doubled this year to ensure the
mandatory one-metre social distancing is maintained between two inmates
at a relief camp. All arrangements have been made including the
availability of face masks and hand sanitisers, at relief camps, which have
been notified as no-spitting and no-tobacco zones. If an inmate is found to
be sneezing and suffering from common cold immediate medical
supervision will be made and the person will be isolated.
The flood has affected crops on more than 75,700 hectares of land. It has
also affected about 20 lakh domestic animals and poultry. Around 265 relief camps have been set up in 21 districts where 25,461 people have taken
shelter. The death toll in the ongoing current wave of Assam floods has
increased to 37.
For the people on the ground, it is an unsure future. During these tough times, we must spark a flame of hope in our hearts and look for the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel