Guwahati: Packing a lunch box of rice, dal and vegetables, Kunjmani Borah is ready to send it to her husband waiting at their partially submerged house at Diphalu Pathar in Golaghat district of Assam. The residents of village of Hukani Gaon, consisting of about 342 households, have left their cattle and belongings to take shelter at a temporary relief camp set up at Diphalu Gaon High School.
Kunjamani’s husband keeps a watch on their belongings in the flooded house, most importantly, the cattle and a trunk.
“I left two goats, my clothes and a trunk of documents which also contains the NRC papers. All I could carry with me is a small vessel,” says Kunjamani who wants to return to her house and get her trunk to the relief camp before there comes another wave of floods.
“We made a bamboo shaft and fixed it inside the house where we have kept our trunk. It is precious, these documents are important,” she adds.
Along with Kunjamani and her family, Senima Borah, Anima Borah and others at the relief camp said they have their names in the complete draft NRC, though some had to get minor corrections rectified. For many, this is the worst flood they have seen in decades, and they have all followed the same procedure - locking the documents inside a trunk and leaving it on bamboo shafts before making their way to the relief camp wading through waist-deep water.
“We have lost about 20 bighas of farmland, cattle and fodder. If the house gets fully submerged, and the trunk gets into water, we lose everything. We will have to apply for all the documents again,” says Anima who has been living in the relief camp for the last six days.
63-year-old Nimol Borah is confident that his trunk would be safe, and his papers would stay dry.
“It will stay. Nothing can happen. We have done this earlier. All our valuables and documents are inside the trunk, and our names are already in the draft NRC list,” he says confidently.
While the elders are queued up to avail a ration of rice, oil and salt at the relief distribution centre inside the school, 16-year-old Minali Borah sits in a corner of the relief camp, her eyes filled with tears. She had just received news of their cattle getting washed away in flood waters.
“I was here last night with my mother. Now, we got the news that two of our goats drowned...They were black in colour, very dear to me. I have also lost my school books, pen and school bag,” says Minali.
The farmers of Hukani Gaon are a helpless lot after losing their crop lands to floods.
“Our crops have been damaged in floods as it had been raining continuously and the grounds are wet. We have lost out on the sowing season, the seeds are all destroyed. Whatever we sowed has been submerged in river water,” said Dimbeswar Borah.
Some of the inmates at the relief camp said they have got adequate relief from the government, so far.
“I have got enough ration, there’s no reason to complain. I only required medicine for body pain and headache, which I availed today,” said a 40-year-old woman from Diphalu Pathar.
For people in relief camps, who are praying for the flood waters to recede to return to their homes, it will be a long road to recovery.