At the outset, here are a few facts about the current Assam flood situation:
• Assam is suffering under heavy floods which have affected at least 22 districts in the state and almost 3,300 villages.
• The Kaziranga National Park, home to more than half the world’s population of one-horned rhino is under 80% of water. Poaching activities now have more than the required advantage.
• These have been the worst floods of Assam since the year of 2004.
In India, floods have also struck states like Gurgaon, Delhi, Bengaluru, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and it has been devastating everywhere. But none of them have been as devastating as the floods in Assam. A World Heritage Site is under water and a great number of protected animals are dying with each passing hour. Villages have disappeared and people are fighting to survive. Even agriculture, which is an occupation of the majority of the people in Assam is under a threat as the silt from the Brahmaputra is washing over the fields. An entire region is barely surviving but the national media deemed it worth of a nominal mention.
Only after gaining widespread attention on social media has the situation of Assam started being covered by every major media house. It’s been barely a week since the ground reality has come to light while floods had begun from late April onwards. Thus, it becomes apparent how much the state has been ignored.
Why is it so? Why is it that even after so many assurances and promises, people from Assam have to scream and rebel to be heard? It’s only after all the social media portals began to be flooded with angry comments did the national headlines start trickling in. “The devastating floods in Assam have brought the rural and urban life to a standstill. The psychological agony of displacement of an infrastructural loss makes the situation even grimmer. The ‘responsible’ news media have done a great job of reflecting the woes of the people,’’ says Barnika Bhuyan, a student of Ramjas college. Assam floods are therefore, thought of an annual phenomena that does not require ‘repetitive’ coverage by the national media.
If you search ‘Assam flood’ on Google, all results from 2012 till 2016 may appear. Yes, it does occur annually but it also shows how responsible the governments have been to make the flooded state safe for everyone. Another problem is that the national news channels have no offices in that particular region and the national newspapers have a very weak presence in the state. The six or so regional news houses are only present when it comes to reporting grave issues at the ground level. This is another reason why journalism has such a weak scope in the region. The Assam floods have thus, again proven how our media turns a blind eye to the problems of the North-Eastern side of our country.
Inputs from: TimesofIndia.indiatimes.com, NDTV.com
Image credits: huffingtonpost.in