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The catastrophe of Assam Floods

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

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