On The Edge

Descending from the plateaus of Tibet and flowing through China, India and Bangladesh, The Brahmaputra is one of India’s mightiest rivers with widths running up to 10 kilometers at some places. On its 3000-kilometer journey, the Brahmaputra provides a livelihood to thousands of communities living on its banks and depending on it for food, water and farming. In 1950 however, the great earthquake in Assam altered the topography of the river valley and the people of Assam have since, seen the worst droughts an d floods in India.

Since the great earthquake, Assam has witnessed some of the worst cases of river erosion where according to official records, 36 villages, 10 schools, 6 tea gardens and hundreds of human and animal lives have been washed away by the river due to heavy erosion. Farming and fishing communities living by the river have struggled for decades trying to protect their land from being eaten away by the river which has only worsened due to increased deforestation and erratic changes in the climate.

In 2012, the floods in Assam displaced over a million people and erosion has affected close to 4500 villages in the state. Today, being witness to both extremes of climate change, from droughts to floods, villagers from Tinsukia district in Upper Assam are struggling to protect their land and livelihood from the eroding banks and the rising waters of the mighty Brahmaputra.