The Assam flood, while being a saga of untold miseries, has also brought in its fold multiple Central Government agencies giving their all, especially in Cachar district, which bore the brunt of nature’s fury this year. Whereas the NDRF is a perennial source of support and assistance to the State, in this year’s flood even the CRPF, BSF, Indian Air Force, Army, Assam Rifles and the Indian Railways are playing a proactive role in providing succour to many of the nearly 80 lakh people affected by flood in 34 districts of the State.
Whereas the intensity of unseasonal flood and torrential rains have caught people by surprise, these agencies have relentlessly supported the State Government in all possible ways.
The NDRF has deployed 26 teams in the State, including an all women team in Silchar, something not seen in previous rescue missions. Since May, when flood first hit Assam, the NDRF has evacuated over 21,000 people.
“My family members were rescued by NDRF men. We were taken to Kamalpur by the NDRF personnel in a boat,” said Tarubala Das of Bhenipara Chuburi of Athhara Gaon. Tarubala and others, rescued by NDRF, have since been shifted to a flood relief camp set up by the Kamrup district administration.
The Indian Air Force has flown 74 missions to rescue the flood-hit in Assam and neighbouring Meghalaya. It has deployed C-130J Super Hercules, AN-32 transport aircraft, Mi 17V5 helicopters, Advanced Light Helicopters, Dhruv and Mi-17 helicopters to provide relief and supplies to the people in the flood-hit areas, while coordinating with the civil administration. The IAF has partnered with the Assam Rifles’ Srikona Battalion in Cachar district to assist relief and rescue missions in southern Assam, especially Cachar district.
More than 100 personnel of the NDRF were airlifted to Silchar from Bhubaneswar on June 21. Around 1.8 lakh litres of diesel and petrol were air dropped to Silchar to cater to the requirements of southern Assam.
Just as the State Government swung into action, the Centre, too, was moved. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to assure all help to Assam while Home Minister Amit Shah spoke twice to the Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma on relief and rescue strategy.
The intensity of the flood and rains can be gauged from the damage that they have brought in their wake for the people of the State, including the likes of Dipali Das. (See Box)
The night of Friday, June 16, became a nightmare for Dipali (55) of Gar Bhitor Gaon under Rangia subdivision in Kamrup district. “Everything in my household was swept away by flood waters,” she told Asom Barta while recalling the horror of the episode.
Like her, hundreds of her fellow villagers are taking shelter at Fatima Convent English Medium School near NH 31 in Rangia town. “We were brought here by the administration,” she says. “I am getting my meals twice a day besides medicine.”
“My house was swamped by flood waters on that fateful day,” says Jiten Kalita of Atsara village in Puthimari in Kamrup district. “We managed to save ourselves from drowning by a whisker,” said Kalita from his makeshift shelter adjacent to NH-31.
Thousands of people from Baihata to Udiyana (a stretch of around 25 kilometres) are in makeshift camps on both sides of NH 31 as relief camps, set up by the district administration, are full to capacity.
The Darrang district administration sought the Army’s help to rescue marooned people. “Apart from three NDRF and two SDRF teams, we requested the Army to evacuate marooned people. There is no shortage of flood relief, said Ms Jinti Deka, an ADC of the district.
The Railways volunteered to run train services with relief materials, especially in lower Assam as well as southern Assam where road communication had been hit badly.