ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Majuli and the Tragedy of Hazard Identification

Since the 1950 earthquake in Assam and Tibet, the island of Majuli on the Brahmaputra River in Assam has been facing soil erosion at an alarming rate. Thousands of islanders have lost their homes as well as agricultural lands, and many of them have become migrants in their own land. There have been no compensations from the National Disaster Response Fund or the State Disaster Response Fund as the guidelines of the NDRF and SDRF do not consider riverbank erosion as a natural disaster. This article argues for a more rational classification of hazards based on their causation factors.

Majuli, a riverine island on the Brahmaputra River in Assam is considered to be a cultural heritage site in India. A casual walk along any street in Kamalabari in Majuli would show hundreds of people living as refugees in this world-famous island. The Brahmaputra that had for centuries nourished their agricultural fields and provided sustenance to the agricultural and fishing communities of Majuli has now turned into a scourge and is destroying the very land and people that it once sheltered and protected.

In 1950, a powerful earthquake struck the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam, de-stabilising the channel of Brahmaputra. Since then, the river has continuously been shifting its course. This unstable river channel causes riverbank erosion that has left thousands of people of Assam in general, and Majuli in particular, homeless and landless.

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Updated On : 8th Aug, 2017

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