Updated: Jul 7, 2020
It is an annual episode that plays itself out. Assam is, once again, reeling under flood – loss of human and animal life, severe damage to agricultural crops, property, millions of people displaced from their homes, absence of flood preparedness or early warning systems, delayed relief action by the government and the silent apathy of the mainstream media. This time, however, it’s a double whammy for Assam, as the floods wreak havoc against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. It is a crisis that calls out for necessities like safe water, sanitation and physical distancing to be in order, a flood like situation definitely compounds the vulnerabilities of the people.
For the communities who have lived alongside rivers for decades, the disaster is not merely the rushing waters of flood, but also the reduced capacity to cope with them. In this photo feature, Akash Basumatari, a film-maker and photographer based out of Assam, captures this lived reality of the people in Matia and Simlitola areas of Goalpara district. These photographs tell a story of the indomitable spirit of the people in their struggle for survival against all odds in North East India.