Floods receding in Assam amid woes
The water levels of Assam's main river Brahmaputra has receded overnight, although millions are still reeling under the devastating floods.india Updated: Aug 02, 2007 11:58 IST
The water levels of Assam's main river Brahmaputra has receded overnight, although millions of people are still reeling under the devastating floods.
A Central Water Commission bulletin on Thursday said the Brahmaputra and its major tributaries were showing a falling trend, although they still flowed above the danger mark.
"The situation has improved marginally although six people drowned overnight in separate incidents," Bhumidhar Barman, Assam's revenue, relief and rehabilitation minister, told IANS.
More than 5.5 million people were displaced in the current wave of flooding that began a fortnight back. The latest deaths took to 33 the number of people killed in flood-related accidents in Assam and adjoining Meghalaya.
The worst is, however, yet to come for thousands of villagers.
"Millions were staying at makeshift relief camps and in government buildings and schools with their villages still under water," the minister said. The displaced villagers would be able to return to their homes in the next couple of days only if there are no further rains.
But for thousands of villagers, they don't have a home any more.
"The floods swept away our home. Where do we go from here?" asks Ramen Nath, a village elder in Bhuragaon in eastern Assam's Morigaon district, about 65 km from the state's main city Guwahati.
Flood-hit villagers are passing days in wooden boats or on raised bamboo platforms and embankments with polythene sheet or a tarpaulin overhead failing to keep the lashing rains away.
"We are passing days on this embankment amid mud and filth with rains beating down heavily for so many days," said Haren Bora, a fatigued farmer. People are complaining about of lack of supplies of food and other essentials.
"We got just some rice and salt... Can we survive on just rice? Where is the kerosene or utensils for cooking?" an angry Khabirun Nisa asked trying to comfort her infant daughter.
Food apart, people are angry the authorities were not providing them water-purifying tablets.
"We heard that something called halogen tablets (water purifying tablets) have reached the state from some aid agencies, but then where are the medicines?" queried another villager, Prabin Bora.
"My son is down with fever and loose motion for the last two days and getting a doctor is a distant dream with floodwaters surrounding us from all sides," lamented Bhairab Madhab, a daily wage earner.
Health officials now fear an outbreak of waterborne diseases in several parts of Assam with people forced to drinking water from sources filled with mud and slush.
"The flood-hit areas have become polluted. So we are worried with cases of diarrhoea, fever, jaundice and other stomach ailments reported from relief camps," a health official said.
"We are taking all precautions and sending medical teams to vulnerable areas to treat the people," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.