Lodged in a makeshift relief camp in Bihar’s East Champaran district, Nararan Giri, 32, is distraught.
Having lost his only son Satyam, 12, and all his belongings in the current spell of flash flood, Giri shares his pain with other displaced persons who have taken shelter at Adapur High School relief camp.
“This is the worst disaster I have seen in Champaran,” says Giri of Belwa village in Adapur block.
The district administration’s assertion that more than 13 lakh people in 15 out of 27 blocks had been affected by the deluge only corroborates Giri’s claim on the magnitude of the natural calamity.
The sufferings of Nasiruddin Mia of Surhi Belwa and Fulan Sah of Shyampur, who share the space with Giri at the camp, are no less. While Mia’s wife Sakina died during labour as he was unable to carry her to the primary health centre due to flood, Sah’s daughter Bimla breathed her last during child birth for want of proper medicare.
Poor facilities and inadequate relief at the camp have only added to the miseries of marooned people. “We have been provided only chura (flattened rice) and jaggery to eat in the last four days. There is no arrangement for pure drinking water,” say the victims.
“I suffer from low blood pressure, but there is neither doctor nor the medicines I need in the camp,” says Fatima of Belwa village.
“The foodstuff we are being provided is insufficient. We will return to our home as soon as the water recedes,” says Kamali Devi, who has taken shelter in relief camp on Bhakhari high school premises in Patahi block.
“With the receding water leaving a trail of destruction, returning home is not going to be easy,” say other victims at the Patahi relief camp. “Most of the state highways and village roads have been washed away in the flash flood triggered by breach in the embankment on Lalbakya river,” they add.
Raju Baitha, one of the victims in the camp, says his house has been washed away and the government should provide compensation so that he can rebuild it. Many other flood victims demanded change in the menu.
In some parts of district, incidents of snake bite have also created havoc among the affected people. Among the victims of snake bite is Ruchi Kumari, daughter of Suresh Sah of Persauna village.
District magistrate Raman Kumar said apart from chura, the administration will provide rice and pulses to the affected people in relief camps. He said 13,000 people had taken shelter in 43 camps, where arrangements of food and medical facilities had been made.