Assam floods: Lakhs affected, people forced to use animal behaviour for survival


With Brahmaputra river overflowing in several districts, the Assam floods remain continued to pose significant danger to hundreds of thousands of people in the state.

Authorities said that the flood had left houses and agricultural fields submerged with around 12.5 lakh people being directly affected.

The famous Kaziranga National Park too has been inundated with flood water.

Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), according to PTI, said Assam floods had washed away considerable chunks of main roads in Morigaon, Jorhat and Dibrugarh districts, snapping road communications and breached river embankments in Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Bongaigaon, Dibrugarh and Golaghat districts causing water to rush into vast tracks of human habitation.

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In the absence of any early flood warning system, villagers in Assam are banking on abnormal animal behaviour to predict and survive sudden inundation of their houses, say researchers.

When insects like locust, grasshopper etc come out from their hideouts and fly randomly and enter houses, the situation suggests a sudden change in the weather condition, more occasionally flood with heavy rain, the scientists found.

Similarly, when ants shift their shelter to higher places with their eggs and food stuff, it indicates a definite forthcoming flood.

When a fox howls irritably at a higher place it indicates a forthcoming prolonged drier season but when it howls from a low-lying location it indicates a probability of high flood.

The cry of doves and two particular species of birds are also warning signs, according to a report by Ludhiana-based Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology scientist Armaan U Muzaddadi.

Toads and frogs make continuous sounds before torrential rain and devastating flood.

“Indigenous technical knowledge has been the key rescuer of fishermen and common people of Dhemaji district of Assam from frequent floods in the region every year,” the report said.

Over the centuries, local people of Dhemaji have developed their own ways and means to deal with floods based on their experience and observations. These measures and techniques are locality specific, require no external help or support and are inherently scientific, according to the scientists.

The group of researchers conducted a study in the region by interviewing fishermen of three most flood-prone development blocks of the district.