Flood Relief at Kolongpar Bazar

Every year as monsoon starts, rivers in Assam crosses dangerous levels and cause devastation including massive floods. Floods in Assam are not a new event; it’s an annual phenomenon which affects lakhs of people as they lose lives and property.  This year too, the situation is not different, rather it was worse due to heavy rain and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic. Over 70 lakh people were affected because of the floods this year.  With the rains letting up, water level of river Brahmaputer and its tributaries crossed dangerous level in many districts increasing the hardships due to vulnerabilities caused by COVID-19. It led to a severe crises for the people living near the river as they had to leave their homes and were required to take shelter in the relief camps. According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), this year more than 24 districts and 3000 villages under it are affected by the flood. More than 44 thousand people stayed in different relief camp across the State due to displacement.

Sonapur under Kamrup (Metropolitan) district is one of the districts that were affected because of the floods with a number of reported cases of death. Kolongpar bazaar was also extensively affected, areas under Sonapur revenue circle comprising of 3 villages Kolongpar Bazaar, Amara Pathar and Dun Dang Natun Basti where around 500 families were affected by flood this year. As their homes got submerged underwater many families moved to the relief camps of nearby locality and around 250 families took shelter at the Kolongpar embankment i.e. of river Kolong (part of River Brahmaputra) by creating temporary shelters. Most of the residents of this area are daily wage earners small shop owners, cultivators who used to live a hand to mouth existence. Since March 2020 after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic people have been facing gross financial hardship and with the flood situation worsening people have been suffering due to the lack of food, cloths, shelter, medical facilities so on.

Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC), Guwahati Chapter organised a flood relief camp at Kolongpar Bazar area, under Sonapur revenue circle, Kamrup Metropolitan district. This year flood relief program was supported by the Mahindra Logistic Limited (MLL) under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative where dry rations, mask, disinfectant, water and cloths were distributed among flood affected people.

The team comprising of members from both organisations tried to reach to the people of Kolongpar Bazaar with relief materials on time during the second wave of flood. On 11.08.2020 the team started their journey from the Guwahati office of SLIC and traveled around 48km to reach the destination Kolongpar Bazar. All flood affected people were asked to come to a field nearby (next to their relief camps) where the relief materials were supposed to be distributed by the organising team. Once the team reached the place the people started coming to the site as they were informed in advance by the local volunteers.

First, masks were distributed among people as most of them came without wearing any mask and also distributed additional mask for their family members. Keeping in mind the need to maintain social distancing. lines were formed and with the help of volunteers and team members, packets of dry ration were distributed to nearly 252 flood affected families.  At the end disinfectants and cloths were also distributed.

The team with their little contribution tried to provide all possible material which would be beneficial to the affected people in the camp and successfully completed the relief program.

Relief Team members:

Debasmita Ghosh, Nandita Deka, Sauradeep Dey, SLIC
Sunil Kumar Bania, MLL
Arunagshu Dhar, Gobinda Barman, Bibek Barman, Sabaran Barman, Volunteer

List of items distributed :

1. Water bottle                               
2. Mask
3. Sanitary Napkins                     
4. Milk
5. Oil                          
6. Puffed Rice
7. Soap                      
8. Jaggery
9. Chana (Dry grams)              
10. Salt
11. Biscuit                      
12. Bleaching powder
13. Goodnight coil                  
14. Sugar
15. Tea                     
16. Reusable bag