| A woman and her children move to safety on a banana raft in Kamrup district on Saturday. (PTI) |
Jorhat, June 30: As many as 178 families of the worst-hit Sonowal-Kachari village in upper Majuli, who have been taking shelter on the embankment since Wednesday, have only floodwaters to drink from.
“We have been drinking this dirty water for the last few days since there are no other freshwater sources. Many of us, especially the children, have already started falling sick,” said Pradip Hazarika, an inhabitant of the embankment, when contacted over phone.
He said since Wednesday when the river washed away about a 100-metre portion of the embankment rendering the villagers homeless, the first relief materials arrived yesterday in the form of insect-infested rice.
“We were given one kg of rice for each family but the quality is so bad that it is not even fit for animals to eat,” Hazarika said.
Bisweswar Sonowal, another resident of flood-affected village, said with no relief materials from the authorities, the families have to spend nights in the open and drink contaminated water.
“Some families who could manage to save a few belongings are helping those who have lost everything. But the biggest problem now is getting drinking water. God knows what will happen to us if we continue to drink dirty water,” Sonowal said.
Upper Assam commissioner S.I. Hussain who visited the Sonowal-Kachari area today said nine of the 178 families of the particular village have lost everything.
“Nine families have lost their houses and their entire belongings during the floods. The rest of the villagers could save a few things but the entire population of the village is now taking shelter on the embankment,” he said, adding that although the water was receding from the village, it would take some time for the villagers to return home.
While talking about drinking water problem for the marooned families, Hussain said he had instructed the public health and engineer department to immediately install tubewells in the area.
“The tubewells have come and by tomorrow these will be installed,” he said. Hussain said he had also instructed the sub-divisional administration to provide relief materials to these families.
“A medical team had visited these places yesterday and will visit Sonowal-Kachari village again tomorrow,” he said.
Hussain said about 82,000 people across 80 villages had been affected by floods on the island. “Water is receding from the island and some families have already started returning home from various relief camps and embankments,” Hussain said.
An AASU team today visited a few flood-affected villages in the island and distributed rice and biscuits.