It’s heart-warming to see aids pouring in from all quarters for Kerala which was devastated by the worst flood it has faced in a century. The government of India took stock of the situation and almost all the states came forward to help the flood-stricken state both in cash and kind. Even foreign countries offered financial assistance though it didn’t materialise after the central government denied permission to accept such help. Popular national television channels and newspapers covered the crisis extensively for days, and the new media offered live updates to online readers. People cutting across boundaries tried to help the flood victims through relief materials. May be the amount of aid the state has received is just a fraction of what it actually needs to get back on its own feet but the amount of love people from all walks of life have showered on them should help in overcoming the trauma they have gone through.
Amid the catastrophic natural calamity in Kerala, there was another state – Nagaland – located in the extreme edge of north east India that was reeling from a similar situation, but almost unheard of by the people in the mainland India. It appeared like the desperate calls made by the local newspapers bounced back at the narrow “chicken’s neck” or Siliguri Corridor. Popular media houses got drowned down south but when it took a U-turn and tried to pay some attention on this far-flung state of India, it was too late. Not a single Indian state offered help. So, the people of Nagaland had to suffer alone, except for some assuring voices from a few like actor Sushant Singh Rajput who donated INR 1.25 crore. The fact is that this year’s monsoon rains have not only taken some precious lives and damaged homes of many but also has cut off several villages from the rest of the state following dozens of landslides that have completely washed away roads, the main life-line of the people. The road to recovery will be long considering the topography and difficult terrains of the region. On top of that, the state has received just a meagre amount of about INR 2.33 crore (including Rajput’s contribution) through the chief minister’s relief fund while the state government has put the cost of damage at INR 800 crore.
Now, the challenge lying before the state government is to find ways to help the flood victims get back to normal life and reconstruct dozens of roads and bridges damaged by the floods and landslides. But is it possible? The answer is a resounding yes, provided everybody – government, opposition parties, head of departments, officials, contractors, leaders, and public — leave their differences behind and work relentlessly for the common good. The state government also needs to come up with a long-term strategy to deal with natural calamities because monsoon will come every year and there are chances of rain gods getting wilder every time it return due to climate change.