Shining a spotlight on the Mising community


Scores of ethnic groups, traditional tribals and languages, the land of seven sisters – Northeast India is land of scenic beauty and diversities. It is a collection of eight states – Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim.

The Mising people of Assam, known as “river people,” are among the most vulnerable to climate change impact. With a deep connection to the river, they have developed their own ways of adapting to its behaviour. However, with climate change projections indicating an increase in extreme rainfall events and floods in Assam, the resilience of the Mising community is being tested to its limits.

​Due to its location, socio-economic conflicts and transboundary river basins, the northeast region is highly vulnerable to climate change. This has resulted in timely floods, droughts, heatwaves, soil erosions, loss of livelihoods, and migration.

In Assam, most people depend on agriculture for livelihood purposes. Assam is one of the most impacted state by climate change. Not only it’s the floods and erosion that creates disrupts the people there, but Assam also suffers from Brahmaputra’s annual overflow. This has further impacted various wellbeing of certain communities in these regions. For eg: Mising communities. Mising are the second largest, making up 17.8 per cent of Assam’s population. The Mising are river people—their name comes from ‘mi’ (man) and ‘asi’ (water)—and they live on the banks of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. Thus, becoming the worst affected by the river’s annual flooding. The houses of the missing communities are made out of bamboo, wood and cane, which is locally available in the marker, in the region. They are fully aware of the level at which the water rose the previous year, since they very carefully read the behaviours of the river, and they also have a way to estimate up to what maximum extent it may rise. This estimation helps them in deciding the height of their base floor. Climate change projections for Assam indicate an increase in extreme rainfall events by 5%-38% and floods by more than 25% by the mid-century.

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