Why children are much more susceptible to floods

In a particularly devastating flood in Assam this year, 49 children have died, accounting for 44.5 per cent of the total deaths reported 

On June 1, a 13-year-old in Assam’s Nagaon district drowned while chasing ducks in a flooded river near his house. A month later, on July 1, a six-year-old slipped and fell into the slushy waters of the Champabati river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, in Dhubri district while making her way home. Her sister tried to rescue her but it was too late. On July 24, a two-year-old toddler rolled over in his sleep and fell from his bed into the waters in his inundated house in Barpeta district.

The 13-year-old, six-year-old and two-year-old are among the 49 children (below the age of 18) who have died in the Assam floods this year, accounting for 44.5 per cent of the total deaths reported till August 3, according to data analysed by The Indian Express.

Since May 22, floods in Assam have affected more than 56 lakh people in 30 out of 33 districts of the state, claiming 110 lives, according to figures from Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). Twenty six people — including at least nine children — have died in landslides caused by rain.

More than 2.6 lakh hectares of total crop area has been affected, 231 embankments, 200 bridges and 2,027 roads have been damaged in what experts have described as a particularly destructive flood this year.

Since August 1, with the rains letting up, the Brahmaputra and its tributaries have started showing a receding trend, though 7,000 people are still in relief camps, and nearly four lakh people in 19 districts remain affected.

“The figures are most concerning,” said M S Manivannan, ASDMA Chief Executive Officer. “More children have died this year, and we will be forming a special committee to look into the causes.” In the 2019 floods, 32 out of the 102 deaths in Assam were those of children.


This article was originally published in The Indian Express in August 2020. Full article here.