The fury of the Kosi has reduced many affluent families to penury as the trauma of the victims has been worsened by what they see as apathy of the authorities.
Queuing for that hard-to-come-by morsel of food alongside the milling hoi polloi at a relief camp here was Praveen Kumar of Muraliganj, owner of a cold storage and a fleet of vehicles till August 18.
Then, out of nowhere, came the Kosi and its currents swept everything away. His home, his cars and his standing crop of potatoes worth lakhs of rupees were gone.
“Everything my father and I earned in the past 20 years has been snatched in one stroke,” Kumar sobbed, staring vacantly at the cloud-lined sky.
Jeevan Kumar Singh of Amarpura, Muraliganj has a similar story to tell. Owner of a market complex that fetched him an annual turnover of crores of rupees, the structure had begun to develop cracks under the Kosi’s onslaught when he left. “It's probably razed to the ground by now. I have nothing left,” he wailed as a daily wage-earner nudged him forward for his plate of gruel.
“You must get K.J. Rao to oversee the rescue and relief work. He is the only one who can win life for those like me in the face of death,” Rajendra of Murliganj area told HT on the phone.
He was referring to the Election Commission’s former advisor, credited with overseeing one of Bihar’s most free and fair elections in October 2005.
Flooded with calls
Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Department cell in Patna is buzzing with frantic phone calls from all parts of the country and Bihar.
“My family is trapped at Lalganj for the last 15 days. They have nothing to eat. They will starve to death. Please save them,” pleads a caller from Ludhiana, Jitendra Mishra.
There are many like Mishra, who are constantly making distress calls to seek help for their kith and kin.
Evacuation is still the prime concern for lakhs of people trapped in the interiors of Supaul, Madhepura and Araria districts.
“Sir, the boats are rescuing only the rich people, not the poor like us. Please save the poor also,” complaints K.K. Mishra from Triveniganj in Supaul.