New Delhi — While a huge swathe of India bakes under, the vast country’s northeast is being devastated by floods. Heavy rains started lashing the Indian states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh last week, triggering floods and mudslides that have washed away houses, fields of crops and bridges.
So far 11 deaths have been blamed on the flooding, and more than 400,000 people have been displaced as 700 villages have been inundated in Assam alone. At least 200,000 people in Assam’s Dima Hasao district were cut off on Wednesday, with all roads and bridges in and out blocked.
On Tuesday, authorities sent army troops to help with rescue and relief operations. Air Force helicopters evacuated people from a train that was left stranded on waterlogged tracks at a station.
“People don’t have drinking water, there’s limited food in stock, all forms of communications have been cut off and we don’t have any means of transportation as all the roads have been washed away by floods and landslides,” India’s 10-year-old child change activist Licypriya Kangujam, who lives in the Himalayan region, told CBS News. She spoke on the phone Wednesday from the tiny island nation of East Timor, where she was addressing lawmakers on climate change.
The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast “very heavy to extremely heavy” rain in the region for the next three days, which is expected to hamper the relief efforts.
A dramatic video posted on social media, shared by Kangujam and India’s Northeast Frontier Railway, shows the moment a mudslide washed away an empty train at Assam’s New Halflong station.
My birthplace and entire North East India is facing serious flash floods and landslides for the last 5 days. This is climate emergency. Why media are not talking about this? 😔 pic.twitter.com/AhnmfsBnTp— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) May 17, 2022
Flooding is common in northeast India, much of which sits in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. Two years ago, flash floods in Uttarakhand state killed nearly 200 people.
Scientists say the Earth’s warming climate is speeding the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting,.
“This is a real climate emergency,” Kangujam, India’s young climate activist, told CBS News.