More than 800 persons from Assam affected by Kerala Flood; 500 returned
GUWAHATI: For Ankur Phukan, who hails from Dibrugarh, and was working at Kerala for the last three years, the flood took more than just his belongings. It took his first and only source of income too.
“After the horrors I have seen of the flood, I am not sure if I can ever return back there and assume my job,” said Phukan, who used to work in a granite processing company at Perumkulam, about 15 km from Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala.
Phukan wasn’t at home when the flood came. “I was informed by my friends who called me and said that the flood has reached my region also. By the time I reached, my entire house was flooded. I did not have much, but all my items were either washed away or was already damaged by the flood,” shared a seemingly distraught Phukan said. His workplace was also damaged due to the flood.
Another, Mohammad Yasim Ali from Guwahati, who had been working in Kerala for the past 8 months, got injured when a wall fell on his leg. “I was at my workplace when suddenly a massive wave of flood water carrying eroded soil and trees hit the wall boundary of my workplace. One of the walls fell on my leg and I was badly injured. My workplace has shut down for the time being,” Ali said.
Ali and Phukan from Assam were not the only victims of the flood that had taken at least 231 lives, left 10.20 lakh people homeless and caused about Rs 20,000 crore-worth property damage (according to preliminary government estimate) since August 8.
According to the Northeast Frontier Railway, more than 500 passengers have arrived so far to Assam from Thiruvananthapuram by two special trains on August 23 and 24, while according to government estimates, 300 more are still stranded.
Among the distressed victims in the train, most had gone to Kerala for work opportunities. According to officials, till Howrah, there were around 4500 people on board in the two trains and of the rest, around 600 disembarked at Bongaigaon junction. About 100-150 were headed to Silchar, the last station for the Assam special trains for the victims.
Meanwhile, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) had been elementary in providing guidance and assistances to those who were stranded in the floods.
According to an official, families of at least 68 people from Assam have so far sought the help of ASDMA for information about their relatives stranded in the Kerala floods.
"We are in constant touch with control rooms in Kerala and are forwarding the names and details to them. As soon as we get the information, we will share it with their families," a source said.
ASDMA had opened three 24x7 helpline numbers - 0361-2237219/2237460 and 94010-44617 - on Sunday following reports that many from the state are stuck in the floods in Kerala, where over 300 people have died so far and thousands are stranded.
According to officials in Kerala, nearly 20 per cent of the three lakh migrant workers in their state are from Assam while 40 per cent are from Bengal. Most of the migrant labourers work in stone mining quarries, hotels and resorts and in construction projects. They however said that they had no information about the death of any migrant worker.
“From the calls we have received, we reached out to the Kerala control room and have asked that if the concerned people were found, they should be sent to the Assam Bhawan there. They were boarded from Assam Bhawan on the train from Thiruvananthapuram,” the official said.
Meanwhile, several organisations have started raising funds to provide assistance to Kerala. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had on August 19 announced financial aid of Rs 3 crore for Kerala flood relief.
A statement quoting Sonowal on Monday said, "Looking at the large scale devastation caused by the flood, our contribution might look meagre. However, we sincerely realise the intense sufferings caused to the people and the mammoth task of rehabilitation that the state faces. We can very well internalise the pain perpetrated by the flood to the people of Kerala as the people of Assam face such kind of fury every year."
Lauding the efforts of all sections in assisting rescue and relief operations in Kerala, Sonowal said, "If a calamity of such a magnitude hits any part of the country, people should reflect the sense of oneness to help the victims, like they are doing in Kerala. It gives an opportunity to strengthen the edifice of cooperative federalism and parliamentary democracy.”