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Ground Report | Floods Ravage Bihar Every Year but There's Little Help From Govt

"No Neta comes to take stock of the situation when floods batter our village. They only give promises before polls."

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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

Severe floods batter Bihar for at least three months, every year. Every year, it's the same story, same scenes — widespread devastation, houses washed away, lives and livelihood lost, and no respite even in death.

For those who are flood-affected, there's no respite, no relief, and no long-term help, apart from meagre compensations from the government. For these people of Bihar, it's only a constant battle and struggle for survival.

This year, too, was no different. The Quint travelled to Hayaghat in Bihar's Darbhanga district. The village is partially under water and residents are forced to stay near railway tracks and on the streets.

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A Constant Struggle for Survival

Their houses are inundated, their belongings partially or mostly washed away, their supply of groceries is dwindling and they are running out of money. "How will we sustain? We hardly have any money left. We are seven members at home. How will I feed my children? What happens if any of us falls sick?" asked Rehana Parveen, a resident of Hayaghat.

Her neighbour Moti told The Quint that their only means of transport are boats. Due to lack of government boats, they are dependent on private boats. Firstly, private boat rides are expensive and not everyone can afford them. Secondly, it is very risky to ride boats amid severe floods. But, they have no option.
"The nearest hospitals are very far and boats are the only means of transport amid the floods. We can still manage to take a boat and reach the hospital during the day. But what do we do after sunset? My niece died of a snake bite because we could not take her to the hospital on time."
Shaukat Shah Resident, Hayaghat

Shaukat's neighbour Shahnawaz told The Quint that for them, it's always a struggle to survive these floods, three to four months in a year. But, there's no dignity even in death. "The graveyards are underwater. How do we bury the dead? I lost my father during the floods. The graveyard was not accessible. Somehow I buried my father," he said.

'No Help from Government, Only Promises Before Polls'

When The Quint spoke to the residents about the troubles that they face every year, they complained of limited or no help from the government. They only get meagre compensations every year, no respite, no long-term solution. Every year, their lives revolve around building and re-building. But in the name of help, all they receive are 'false' promises before polls.

Mukhtar told The Quint that they get annual compensations every year, the compensation money gets used up in rebuilding their houses and in private boat rides. There's hardly anything left to buy items of necessity. His neighbour Bimla, however, complained that she didn't even receive the compensation money and has absolutely no clue how she'll feed her family.
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"Every year, we have to somehow live in makeshift huts near railway tracks or take shelter on the streets. No minister, no babu ever comes to take stock of the situation when floods batter our village. They only come with promises before polls, promises they soon forget."
Suraj Prasad Resident, Hayaghat

When The Quint spoke to Kamal Prasad, the Chief Officer of Hayaghat regarding the delay in compensation, he said it's a time-taking process and that the residents should be patient and wait for their turn.

How long before the struggles of these vulnerable flood-affected people of Bihar end? How long before the government wakes up?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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