Amid death and destruction wrought by the Kosi on Bihar districts adjoining Nepal, there is a story of life.
A woman, who was eight-and-a-half-months pregnant, went into labour on Monday on a rescue boat from Kumarkhand to a relief camp. And the commandos of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) helped her deliver a boy.
“She is about 35 years old. Even as we helped her onto the inflatable motorboats, we had a feeling that the stress of being stranded may trigger the labour pain, so we radioed ahead to our base office,” said a commando who supervised the operation.
NDRF battalions have so far rescued over 10,000 people. The force, under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), has sent in 274 personnel specialised in flood rescue operations. Several of them are paramedics.
The rescuers say people hardly understand the magnitude of the disaster. “They say, ‘Give us food if you have it, but we don’t want to board your boats’. All we can do is convince them to let pregnant women, children and elderly or disabled people leave,” another commando, said.
Some rescuers have to deal with situations where every villager wants to be in the first batch out. “One boat can rescue 100 people per day. So, there is some amount of crowd management involved in our work,” an official said.