Hatilung village in Upper Assam’s Lakhimpur district came into the danger zone when water levels suddenly surged by 8-10 feet at their local dam.
The spike in water levels was triggered by the release of water from Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh, which penetrated embankments made to protect villages like Hatilung.
Haitlung was flooded by 6 am on the morning of July 10. Water levels rose, in the blink of an eye, from ankle-deep to waist-high within 4 hours.
The currents kept getting stronger, and villagers had just enough time to gather their belongings and make it to high ground, but not everybody had a chance to get out.
The situation was worsening with every passing second, and people were trapped in waist high water, unable to move.
Pinki Gogoi and Pujashree Gogoi, two young girls from the village who were adept at rafting maneuvred a banana raft in the water and started helping people cross the waters and reach a safe place. got into action and started to save people across the waters and reach safe land.
Pinki and Pujashree completed their BA this year. Both had learnt how to use a banana raft in their childhood as their village is a flood-prone, and also witnessed floods in 2008.
Pinki told The Telegraph: “Four to five people can get onto a plantain raft. I saw Mridu aunty and Sarumai aunty dangerously wading and so I asked them to get on our raft. It is always safe to sit on the raft as it helps to maintain balance in the current.”
In doing so, Pinki was able to rescue 25-30 villagers who had no way out.
Her father said, “Although we don’t have floods every year, she (Pinki) was witness to the severe floods in 2008 and the people’s sufferings. This probably encouraged her to help others this time.”
The bravery of the girls did not go unnoticed. All the survivors are calling upon the local government to recognise and reward the fearless courage of Pinki and Puja Gogoi.
Such acts of heroism are great to see on the silver screen, but when it happens in real life, it is quite remarkable to see the lengths to which one human can go to save a life, even if it means endangering one’s own.