Natural calamities like earthquakes, avalanche volcanoes floods, etc. create havoc, time and again, in our lives. Flood is one such calamity which not only brings untold miseries to people but because of its recurring nature it leaves our country in ruins every year. Can there be a more terrible sight than when we see entire villages being washed away and people stranded with nothing to live on?
The ravages of flood and its consequences are beyond description. Rural poverty and general backwardness have been further aggravated by these floods occurring every year.
Three factors account for the frequent occurrence of flood in India. They are – (i) India being in the Monsoon region (ii) The existence of west plains in the north and, (iii) Long stretch of mountainous region in the North and North East. The north and north-eastern part of India lie in the heart of Monsoon belt and as a result experiences heavy annual rainfall. Continuous rain causes the numerous streams and rivers of the vast plains of the north to overflow, resulting in the flooding of the low lying areas of the Gangetic and Brahmaputra plains. Recent studies have found that global warming resulting in ice melting in the river upstreams creates flood havoc. The July 2004 floods which affected the people of Assam is a result of this global warming.
Image Source: cdn.citylab.com
Flood causes terrible loss of life and property. In Assam alone about 22.43 lakh hectares of land was flooded in July 2004 floods. Thousands of people are rendered homeless. Their houses are flooded and their cattle and goods get washed away. Many villages and towns are submerged forcing the inhabitants to flee for life. It destroys properties worth crores of rupees. Crops are destroyed and cultivable lands go under water. Bridges are broken, roads get destroyed and communication links are disrupted.
In other words, flood causes untold misery and terrible economic hardships. Flood also results in the spread of water-borne diseases and various types of communicable diseases. It also causes a rise in the price of essential commodities and creates scarcity of food and fresh water. It leads to general famine in the area and aggravates the problem of rural poverty and backwardness.
As soon as flood occurs, the government immediately takes certain relief measures. Relief measures are of two types: (i) Short-term measures and (ii) Long-term measures. The short-term relief measures consist of setting up of relief camps, free distribution of food, clothes and medicines. While long-term measures include distribution of seedlings, remission of dues to the government, granting of loans and subsidies for construction of houses, compensation for loss of crops, etc.
Unfortunately, these measures often come too late or, are too inadequate to meet the hardships caused by floods. The main preventive measures consist of steps such as, the construction of check-dams and reservoirs, establishment of several river-valley projects, creation of embankments, dredging of riverbeds, etc. But, these steps have failed to reduce the menace that has been hitting India, year after year, with all might and fury.
India’s rivers carry huge sedimentation due to the Himalayan connection. Under these circumstances a few favourable multi purpose projects in selected northern tributaries will be fruitful. Moreover, frequent erosion of river banks at different places in one of the major problem that needs to be controlled by proper protection measures in areas like Majuli in Assam. Restoration and conservation of forests is another very important protection measure against erosion of soil and the management of flood.
Food disaster management in the flood prone areas of our country is necessary where technically qualified people such as scientists, engineers, geologists, meteorologists, etc. can prepare a successful plan. This is very important for immediate planning at the time of flood and after the flood for rehabilitations and also for forecasting along with preparedness. In this manner the severe consequences of this major natural calamity can be minimised.
A Flood Scene
India is a land of rivers. So floods are very common in this country. We hear of floods every year. They are not new things. There are many causes of flood. Sometimes the rainfall is heavy. Rivers cannot carry all the water. The water overflows and spreads to long distances making flood. Sometimes dams are broken causing flood.
The floods are common in India. They are a natural calamity. Floods are the curse of God on earth. They occur on account. Of heavy rainfall. They occur almost in every country, when the rains are heavy and continue for a long time. These floods cause a huge loss of life and property.
I live near the Yamuna river in a small village. Forty families live there. Every year during the rainy season our village is surrounded by Yamuna water. We have built our houses on the rocky ground. It is much above the level of the surrounding earth. Last year heavy rains caused flood. We had to vacate our village. We saw big sheet of water all round. Boatgs were playing in the Yamuan. I saw with great horror many houses surrounded by angry water. Ultimately we had to vacate our houses and went to our farm where we were safe. The farm was situated at about fifteen kilometers away from our village in the interior.
The effect of this flood in neighbouring villages was very great. It caused a great loss of human life and property. Crops were damaged, tree were uprooted, houses were washed away, cattle were drowned. Heavy loss of life and property took place and epidemic broke out. The people were rendered homeless.
The Government officers had mad arrangement for a big camp. This was arranged for those who left their hearths and homes. Food was freely supplied to them. To save people from the possible attack of diseases all the precautions were taken. The people in the camp were given medical aid. I remember that for two days we also had to stay there. The conation of the people was very miserable. They had to stand like beggars in queues for food. The poorest people were given good first and then people like us had good in the last.
The floods in the river Yumuna caused great loss to the people of affected areas. It spoiled the crops completely. Our village specially suffered a great loss. Nearly all the mud houses wren washed away by the swift current of water. Hundreds of cattle were drowned. When the water receded, the Government gave financial aid to the farmers. The poor people got money to rebuild their mud houses and to purchase some necessary things such as cloth, sugar and food. We also got some loan from the Government for buying seeds and chemical fertilizers. Three hundred rupees were given by way of financial aid to us. Now new attempts are being made to check the floods. Government has started to construct embankment along the river banks.
We have no control on the causes of floods. We cannot check extensive rains. Science has failed to conquer the heat of the sun. man is powerless in this respect. We can only minimize human suffering and loss of property. To avoid the dagger of the flood, big tanks and canals should be made. Big dams should be constructed to prevent the water of the flooded rivers. People should be trained to serve in such calamities. They should be taught swimming and rowing.
Essay No. 02
Flood in My Village
It was the rainy season and for one whole week, the rain poured incessantly. The water level in the river rose steadily until the water split over, flooding many low-lying areas. My village was one of the areas affected and we had to move our belongings to higher ground. There, we waited for rescue teams to arrive. The whole village was submerged in about one meter of water. The currents were swift and merciless, sweeping away livestock and furniture. Red Crescent members could be seen busy evacuating old folk, women and children trapped by the rising waters. Flood victims were taken to a Flood Relief Centre. Here we were given hot drinks, porridge and milk for the babies. Some had to be given clothes and blankets as they could not save anything in time.
After three days, the rain subsided and the flood waters receded, it was such a relief to see the sun again. Flood victims began to move back home, to clean up the place as well as to assess the damage.