‘No Help From Govt’: Ground Report on Bihar Floods From Darbhanga

Over 15 lakh affected in Bihar floods. Darbhanga is worst-hit. Villagers allege they’ve got no aid from government.

Published01 Aug 2020, 03:15 PM IST
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“My daughter is pregnant and went into labour. She was in a lot of pain but because of the flood, it was difficult to take her to the hospital. The entire village is submerged. There is no mode of transport available. Finally, some villagers came to our rescue. They took us to the hospital in a makeshift boat. We have got no help from the government. Our neighbours got into the water themselves and helped us across.”

Such is the sorry state of affairs in Bihar, which is ravaged by the current wave of floods amid the pandemic. Several villages submerged, several houses washed away, as people are forced to take shelter on rooftops.

Darbhanga's Keoti has had to bear the brunt of the floods. Ruksana Parveen, a specially-abled pregnant woman, got stuck in the floods and was helpless when she went into labour.

Finally, she had to reach the hospital in a boat made out of a tube. "No ambulance was available. One tempo driver agreed to take us. We had to pay Rs 800 to reach the hospital. What to do? We have no other option," said Ruksana's mother Kaniza Khatoon.

“Our team rescued a pregnant specially-abled woman. For how long do we have to suffer due to poor infrastructure?”
Anisur Rehman, Social Worker

15 Lakh People Affected Across 10 Districts

At least 15 lakh people have been affected across 10 districts in the current wave of floods in Bihar. Darbhanga district is the worst-hit.

"The water levels are on the rise. Nobody from the authorities have come to our aid. Nobody has come to see the situation here and the condition in which we are. There are no facilities here. There is no mode of transport to leave the village," said Lal Paswan, flood-affected resident of Keoti.

“Floods amid COVID pandemic is a double whammy for the people here. Houses are inundated. Villages are submerged.”
Samiullah Khan Sameem, Zila Parishad Member, Keoti, Darbhanga
Not just people, even domestic animals and cattle are badly hit by the floods. Several animals are stranded, facing acute shortage of food.

In Keoti village, too, farmers have cattle at home. The entire village is inundated. Most houses were either washed away or partially submerged. With no aid from the government, people were forced to somehow escape the floods and also rescue and take their animals to higher ground.

“Several houses have been washed away completely. All those who have cattle at home, had to take them to higher areas. There is shortage of food for cattle but people are managing somehow. Cattle are forced to graze in water. Farmers are extremely distressed.”
Satyendra Kumar Mishra Resident, Keoti, Darbhanga
In Keoti, most people do farming for a living. With the entire area submerged, crops that were ready for harvest were completely ruined.
“Floods wreak havoc in Bihar every year. Croplands are under water. The crops were ready for harvest. Losses worth lakhs here. This is a matter of concern. This entire area is farmland. Farmers are dependent on the crops. Crops that were ready for harvest are now completely ruined due to floods.”
Anisur Rehman, Social Worker

'No Help From Authorities, Government'

Villagers in Keoti allege that nobody from the authorities or the government had come to asses the situation or to help those affected by floods. Taking shelter in rooftops and makeshift boats is their only option.

"We have got no aid or help from the government. We have no food but nobody is bothered," said Rita Devi, flood-affected resident of Keoti.

“We are monitoring the situation here. We have got no aid from the government yet. I went to the block office and asked the CO for a boat to be provided but I was told there is no need for a boat here. I appeal to the authorities to come and assess the situation here... whether they need a boat or whether they need aid or hospital facilities or not.”
Samiullah Khan Sameem, Zila Parishad Member, Keoti, Darbhanga

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