Working with community is amazing!!! At Dihiri, a worst flood and erosion affected village in Dhemaji district of Assam, India, in 2014. Working with community is amazing!!! At Dihiri, a worst flood and erosion affected village in Dhemaji district of Assam, India, in 2014.

In the photo the villagers shares their experiences with the river. The are identifying the river and it’s Paleo channels and events like road breached, breaches of embankment, government’s unscientific structures in undesired locations etc.

The people of this village encounters flood and erosion problems each monsoon of the year. The village, Dihiri (which has three settlements excluding adjacent Dihiri Kachary village) is situated on the bank of the Jiadhal river in Dhemaji and inundates the village by the inflated surging water of the river. There is no embankment to protect the village and people live here in scattered stilted houses with light weight materials such as bamboo, corrugated tin-sheets etc. The river often changes it’s channel and carries huge sediments to the downstream area. With the changing characteristics of the river, the people of the village gradually learnt how to cope up with floods and erosions. They often change their houses to other places within the settlement if their houses engulfed by erosion. Flood is no problem because the water moves away beneath their house made on bamboo stilts. But erosion, a real issue in the village, when the river starts bank erosion, within a blink of eye it eroded wide landmss and widens it’s channel up to hundred metres. The river creates flash floods. The water comes submerges the village within a very short period of time. In some cases, their essentials like food items (particularly rice), utensils, clothes, students’ books etc washes out in suddenly happened floods. But the elderly people of the village can predict flood in their village few hours earlier. They tell that if they see clouds or torrential rains over the hills of Arunachal Pradesh (just 12 km in distance), the flood will definitely occur in their village and adjoining villages and in the far downstream. So far the villagers of Dihiri, shifted their only primary school more than three times. Now its no more pucca, similarly the community hall and the prayer hall too shifted several times. The villagers can not say about the permanency of their houses. Sometimes, they shifted their houses more than three times just in a flood season.

(Flood makes students' lives perilous)
Flood makes students’ lives perilous

Now they have enough experience of flooding and erosion and learned to cope up with it. According to the villagers moderate flash flood is good for them. It carries enough nutrient silts with sand and other debris. They choose their occupations and livelihood in their own own ways.

The world community needs to be learnt from this village a lot to fight with climate related hazards.

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Monoj Gogoi is a post graduate in English from Gauhati University and currently teaching in a college in upper Assam, India. Since 2003, he has been contributing news, articles, research articles on various English and Assamese newspapers (Eastern Chronicle, Seven Sister's Post, Eastern Sentinel, Dainik Agradoot etc; worked in news channels: News Time Assam, DY 365), books,web portals etc. Besides teaching Gogoi is independently doing researches on Climate Change, Water, Agriculture and Rural Economy in the state of Assam. He also works as resource person in the workshops related to the subjects. Interests: Reading, gardening, music like Indian Classical, Tibetan Bowl etc.

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