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Sushanta Roy is a journalist in the north eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora, and the things that affect them.

Diphu August 10: For the first time in history, residents of Hamren town, the official headquarters of Hamren subdivision in Karbi Anglong district, at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level, witnessed flood fury.

The flash flood caused by the rising water of the hilly stream Until and Ambionoan flowing through the old and new market area of the small hilly town, all of a sudden gushed through the market, demolishing nearly 20 houses and shops along with hundreds of domestic cattle.

The devastation began around 10. 30 AM after a heavy downpour started one hour previously, in higher altitude locations.

According to local people, the earth-shattering downpour similar to a cloudburst took place in the upper catchment of the rivers resulting in a surge of massive torrent inundating the downstream banks within moments.

Rain in hilly areas caused a flash flood in Hamren Town due to the removal of too many trees, leading to the loss of topsoil.
Rain in hilly areas caused a flash flood in Hamren Town due to the removal of too many trees, leading to the loss of topsoil.

“I will attribute the reason of this flash flood as immense deforestation in the upper ridge of Hamren where as a conventional practice of the people settled their slash and burn method of cultivation is going on. That caused loss of forest cover and siltation of top soil. Today when heavy rain took place in the catchment areas of the river water, runoff came very swiftly due to nonexistence of foliage to store up the precipitation. The systematic deforestation in the last 15 years in the hills of Hamren covered with semi rainforest has taken its toll” Dr. Man Sing Rongpi MLA of Hamren ( Baithalangso) told this reporter over the phone, after the catastrophe.

At the time of filing this report, the situation has not improved much. Roads are still clogged with mud and water, the power supply couldn’t be restored and the North Eastern Council road connecting Hamren with Meghalaya is completely cut off in several places.

No report of any human casualties has come in yet. The District administration and the local authorities have began reclaiming connectivity and rescue of affected people.

See More photos of the flash flood in Hamren Town

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