The district administration in Assam's Goalpara last month found itself amid multiple crises — sudden flash floods during Covid pandemic and lockdown. Over 150 of its villages were inundated even as the district was looking at the second wave of Covid-19 cases.
"I belong to Assam but even for me this was quite an experience," Goalpara Deputy Commissioner Varnali Deka told ThePrint. "On Day One, there was a cloudburst in the West Garo Hills of Meghalaya and the water just rolled down. In the morning, I got news that it had reached the state highways."
With the Brahmaputra flowing right through the state, about 40 per cent of Assam is prone to floods. The district administration had been prepared but despite this, the intensity of the pre-monsoon floods took Deka and her officials, who were at the time managing the Covid-19 screening and surveillance exercise in the district, by surprise.
"The chief minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) had given us directions well in time to have a separate setup for Covid and a separate setup for floods; so we had an entirely different team working on floods and an entirely different one for Covid," Deka said. "In a way that really helped our attempts, otherwise we would have had some kind of panic."
The floods affected over 2,00,000 people and 150 villages. Even as thousands were brought into the 51 relief camps set up across the district, the administration managed to keep the number of Covid-19 cases to 81 as of Wednesday.