The Unnoticed Floods

Nagaland has been experiencing landslides and floods for over a month. While Kerala witnessed support from across the country, flood-ravaged Nagaland still misses the headlines

Bystanders look at a bridge that collapsed over the Chathe River in Dimapur
A fter torrential rains in Kerala, continuous raining in Nagaland has taken a toll. Nagaland floods were not much highlighted although the intensity was no less than Kerala floods. With the State's road network badly damaged, essential commodities are either being air dropped or shipped on smaller vehicles to as far as possible.
Series of disasters during this monsoon season have disrupted the roads in multiple locations, rendered many people homeless and damaged agriculture. The State capital Kohima and the districts of Tuensang, Kiphire and Phek have been severely affected.
Kiphere is one of the worst affected districts which has been disconnected from the mainland for the past two months because of the landslide which was followed by an already devastating flood. Kiphere shares its borders with Myanmar. Hence, connectivity to Kiphire is of both national and strategic international importance. With almost no mainstream media coverage for over a month of devastating rain and landslides, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio made an appeal through social media requesting for national support to rebuild Nagaland.
Concerned by the scale of calamity, students of IIT Guwahati led by Brijesh Meena and Prashant Thapliyal volunteered to travel to the affected site immediately with relief materials. With the immediate cooperation and support of local administration, especially DC Kiphire , they were able to reach Kiphire after 3 days of travel from Dimapur finally.
A team of volunteers from social media Ashutosh Muglikar, and Shubhrastha along with NGO like Amyaa and Sakaar Seva Samiti, volunteers from IIT Guwahati started organising funds for relief and rescue operation.
Essential commodities like medicines, solar lamps, rice, baby food, chlorine tablets were sent from Guwahati to Kiphere.
• 12 persons have reportedly died, and over 3,000 families have been displaced
• About 50,000 families in Nagaland in over 530 villages have remained cut-off for a month after road communications were snapped
• 4 major bridges and around 300 hectares of paddy fields have also been destroyed
• An inter-ministerial team led by MHA joint secretary KB Singh visited Nagaland on September 5 to assess the extent of damage in the State
Roads from Dimapur to Kohima are in deplorable conditions. Kohima to Pfutsero is also the same. It is prone to major landslides in at least at four places. At Chakabama, the road has been wiped out. The soil at this place is still very slushy and slippery and has a great chance to become worse with any more rainfall.
Though from Pfutsero to Meluri the road is a bit better. After Meluri, entire Highway road has sunken. This had caused the major roadblock for more than 20 days after which a makeshift bypass road was made operational for commuting small vehicles.
The asphalt of roads all along the way has worn down due to rains and has become slippery and dangerous for vehicles to move over.
Kiphire district is connected to rest of the Nagaland from 3 sides, Tuensang in the North, Kohima in the South and Zohneboto in the west and it was disconnected from all the three sides for at least 25 days. The arrival of food and other essential commodities was not possible except air drops during these days.
While the Chief Minister has given 10 lakh rupees for relief activities to DC office Kiphire, DC office Dimapur has arranged to send 70 Tonnes of rice to Kiphire as a relief. This rice is being distributed through ward presidents in the town and village councils in the villages. The quantity of the rice distributed is based on the number of houses in each village. They require another 70 Tonnes of rice to fulfill the requirements of the district.
It rains majorly in Kiphire area during September and October for which they have to prepare the stock of major commodities to be ready for these situations again. The traders in Pungro area procured 50 tonnes of foodgrains. SDO Kiphire, market chairman, ward chairman, head of 3 tribal councils were the management/relief committee during the days of the disaster.
A resident, Bhakta Limbo told us that the ration they are getting as relief material is not sufficient for large families. Prices of other essential commodities have hiked in the market.
Local trader Mrs Jha along with others told us that they have started to receive supplies from Dimapur side, however, at a high transportation cost.
Major work on war footing needs to be done on highways and road transportation for keeping Kiphire connected. Along with transporting relief materials essential commodities like rice through smaller vehicles are needeed for Kiphire lies in danger of being completely isolated without any stock of essential products by any further rain.
About 359 locations of roads have been cut off sending the state into a SoS situation. According to a report, Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority has said 3000 families have been displaced in about 400 villages in Nagaland. More than 13 per cent of the state population, comprising over 48,000 families in 532 villages, is affected by one of the worst monsoon seasons Nagaland has had. Besides floods, the state has witnessed many landslides since July 26.
While the Union Government has assured full support, the state disaster management authority said approximately Rs 800 crore are required immediately for the repair of the damages. In August, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju visited the flood and landslide affected areas of Dimapur and Kohima districts in Nagaland and reviewed the search, rescue and relief measures taken by the State Government and other Central Government agencies.
Rijiju was accompanied by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, state home secretary, director general of police, senior officers of the state administration apart from a central delegation comprising officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, National Disaster Management Authority and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
Teams of NDRF are already deployed in Nagaland to assist the state administration in relief and rescue operations.
— Organiser Bureau with inputs from Harsh Chaturvedi