While Kerala gets support of the country, flood ravaged Northeast is missing from the headlines

Northeast floods

The floods in Kerala have led to severe damage in the state. The Media gave a lot of attention to it and people across the country contributed to Kerala flood relief fund. But another part of the country, the northeast, is suffering due to floods but is not getting any media attention at all. The authorities issued warning to the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland about flooding from a rain-swollen river which flows from China. Indian Air Force also rescued 19 people from a tiny island in the river because it was no longer accessible through boats. Tamiyo Tatak, a district magistrate, said on Friday that “hundreds of people from about a dozen villages have moved to higher ground in Arunachal Pradesh state on the Indian side.” Earlier this week China has warned India about torrential rains increasing the water in the Siang River that flows into India’s northeast.

Arunachal Pradesh is not alone in the northeast to be hit by the floods. In Nagaland, 3000 families have been displaced from 400 villages. The death toll due to landslides and floods is 12. The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, tweeted a video to show the damage floods has caused to the state of Nagaland.

He also tweeted bank account number which could be used to donate to flood relief funds of the state.

The northeastern states contributed as per their capability to Kerala relief funds but the awareness about Northeast floods is less due to lack of coverage from ‘mainstream media’. Some celebrities tweeted about northeast floods to spread awareness but more efforts are needed. And most important is that so called ‘national media’ should cover northeast with same intensity which they had shown during Kerala floods.

Northeast has long been ignored by previous government in terms of central government funds and improvement in connectivity to mainland. Capitals of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, and Nagaland are not connected by rail even after 70 years of independence. The new government since coming to power has focused on increasing connectivity to the Northeast. In the Union Budget for 2018-19 the Finance Ministry announced an allocation of Rs 1,014.09 Crores for the upcoming financial year towards the revival of 50 airports and viability gap funding for improving aviation infrastructure in the area under the flagship regional connectivity scheme. This amount was nearly five times the allocation of Rs 200.11 crore as per the revised estimates of 2017-18.

People across the country should stand together with the people of northeast at this time. More than 100 people have died in seven northeastern states since June when this year’s monsoon season started. Some permanent solution should also be found to prevent theses damages due to floods. Importantly, neither the media nor the people should ignore the disaster in northeast. The way media focused the attention on Kerala should be emulated in the northeast states as well to provide speedy relief and mobilize support for relief works.

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Amit Agrahari

Engineering grad but Humanities and social sciences are my forte. Avid reader of religious Scriptures (Especially Hindu), Lord Shiva devotee
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