Flood, virus-affected Ri Bhoi farmers solicit govt balm

NONGPOH: The year 2020 does not seem to be favouring the state-based farmers, with not only viruses like COVID-19 and African Swine Fever (ASF) but also the recent flash floods hitting them hard.
Similar are the ordeals of the farmers from Tyrso Nongkhyllep in Ri Bhoi who have expressed concern over the agony they have been subjected to this year, with their paddy fields being destroyed in the recent floods besides the suspected diseases plaguing the village.
Iohilut Lyngdoh, leader of a women organisation of the village and Lamjingshai self-help group, while talking to this scribe on Saturday, informed that apart from the flash floods destroying their paddy fields, around 40-50 pigs have died recently due to suspected African Swine Fever and also their most-valued plantation, ginger leaf, started to turn yellow and dried up due to unknown causes.
“We have lost everything this year. Our pigs died, our gingers also faced unknown disease, our paddy fields were destroyed during the flash floods, I don’t know how we will survive and get back to our feet again,” a dejected Lyngdoh said.
When asked if any government officials had visited the village to look into their ordeals, Lyngdoh said that so far, no government official had visited the village to take stock of the plight of the farmers.
Stating that most of the villagers eke out their living from farming activity, Lyngdoh said with the current situation they are facing, it has been a herculean task to survive, as their prime sources of income were destroyed.
Meanwhile, the village headman, Ialam Mashli, said that this year, the villagers, who are mostly engaged in farming activities, were having a tough time owing to the fact that they lost everything, from crops to animals.
He also informed that officials from the veterinary department had visited the village after the villagers were apprehensive of the suspected ASF disease in pigs.
However, Mashli said that the village leaders were not apprised of the prime reason of the officials’ visit.
The women leaders as well as the village leaders have, meanwhile, urged the district administration and the state government to render any kind of assistance so that the lives of villagers can revert to normalcy.

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