A report on the flood menace: Will Assam ever be safe from its annual ravaging?

Floods are an annual recurrent event in Assam, causing damage worth crores and affecting thousands of lives. All rivers in Assam are liable to floods, mainly because they receive heavy rainfall within a short period of time. These rivers are in their early stage of maturity and are very active agents of erosion. The river waters collect a tremendous amount of silt and other debris, raising the level of river beds. Therefore, it becomes impossible for the main channel to cope with the vast volume of water received during the rains.  39.58% of the total land area of Assam is flood-prone, while only 10.2% of the total area of the country is prone to floods – making Assam four times as vulnerable.  In absolute terms, about 4.75 lakh hectares of area in the state is chronically flood-prone. The state suffers losses of hundreds of crores. In 2017, Assam suffered losses to the tune of a whopping 2,939 crores apart from the human and animal lives lost.  To understand the ground realities of the effects of floods, a team of activists and lawyers from Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and Peoples’ Action for Development (PAD) visited some flood affected villages of Lakhimpur district in Assam which is the worst affected of all districts in the State.