Large tracts of land in northern and north-eastern regions of the country have been flooded and the situation is expected to worsen as waters in the Teesta, Brahmaputra, Dharla and Surma Rivers continue to rise. This was to be expected as the flood situation upstream had worsened over the last 24 hours and some 1.2 million people in 18 districts of Assam have been affected by floods. Thousands are moving away from the worse affected areas in Kurigram, Bogra, Lalmonirhat and Sunamganj areas. With schools and other infrastructure going underwater, movement is becoming difficult and people of many districts are becoming trapped in different areas.
As with every major flood, the challenge for the authorities is to handle relief operations and managing the post-flood rehabilitation of people either displaced or trapped in flood-affected areas. District administrations should intensify relief operation immediately to feed the displaced. Post flood work will involve repairing on urgent basis roads, bridges and flood embankments. Although relief is being distributed in various unions of the country, the real crunch will come when water recedes and the damage to croplands is assessed.
What should already be obvious to authorities is that free distribution of seeds along with cash disbursements will be needed to get our farmers back on their feet. As there is time to make plans for rehabilitation, they should be made quickly so that any major outbreak of diseases can be contained and economic rehabilitation of the flood affected people can get rolling as soon as the situation improves.