After the short aerial visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress PresidentSonia Gandhi of the flood affected regions of Assam yesterday, the PM announced an ad-hoc central support of Rs 500 crore for the state.
But CNN IBN‘s Arijit Sen brings us the ground report from Assam and shows why the assurance of monetary relief might be too little in the face of the devastation.
These are the worse floods in Assam in a decade, wiping out 2,000 villages. The villagers are struggling to survive, spending nights in makeshift relief camps that are not stocked properly with food or medicines, despite assurances of adequate food relief stocks.
Village after village in 3 of the states 27 districts have been submerged in flood water. The embankments which have been built have clearly been of no use.
The flood has caused 42 breaches in embankments on the Brahmaputra and 14 other tributaries and as many as 2,200 roads have been damaged. CNN IBN travelled to Udiana, a village neck deep in water and found that most villagers were angry at the absence of basic relief.
“My house has been swept away. It is so difficult to get food. This happens every year,” said Mina Begum, a flood affected villager.
The NDRF, Army, Air Force and the state government are working overtime, but it clearly isn’t enough.
“The villagers are having difficulty. It is difficult to get enough food,” said Kalakaya, 1st battalion, NDRF.
Despite the PM’s assurances of a Rs 500 cr relief package, it is not money so much as its utilisation which is the key. In 2008, the Centre did not clear funds due to non-submission of the utilisation report. This time, 19 lakh people have been affected, and assurances have to translate quickly into action.