Flood-hit people stuck on highways, embankments in Bihar’s Seemanchal
Caught unawares by the sudden deluge, many in the Seemanchal area of northeast Bihar are either stuck in their houses or have taken shelter on embankments. They are now praying for the floodwater to recede.
“We have lost all hopes in the administration and are just waiting for the floodwater to recede. No government official has visited us to offer any assistance,” Vijay Kumar of Forbesganj in Araria district told HT over cellphone, just before it was discharged.
Malti Jha, who retired from the State Bank of India two years ago, is stuck on the first floor of her house at Araria town after floodwater inundated the ground floor. “I was not prepared for this. At present, I am alone in the house to face the fury of unprecedented flood,” she said.
Araria is one of the four districts of the Seemanchal region. The others are Purnia, Kishanganj and Katihar.
“We never realised that floodwater would come at such a speed. Our houses are submerged under waist-deep water and we are at the mercy of god as no rescue and relief teams have reached our village,” Prabhakar, 30, of Bishnupur in Amour police station area of Purnia district said.
Prabhakar told HT over phone: “Sitting on the roof of our houses, we have been helplessly watching our valuables being washed away in floodwater.”
Mitthu Kumar, 30, of Asarna, also in Amour police station area, said: “We don’t expect any relief from the government as it is very difficult for them to reach here. We are managing everything by our own.”
Shivaji Jha, transmission executive at All India Radio’s Purnia station, is worried as he has lost contact with his family at flood-affected Jogbani in Araria district. “I left for Jogbani on Sunday, but I had to return as all roads and railway tracks were submerged under water,” he said.
A former mukhiya of Babhni panchayat in Purnia district, is however, hopeful that the foodstuff he has carried to the Minapur embankment, where he has taken shelter, will last till the water recedes.
“This year’s flood is unprecedented. We somehow managed to reach the Mahananda embankment after floodwater entered our houses at Minapur village,” former mukhiya Dhanpat Mandal, 70, said.
Mandal is among thousands of other affected people from Banaili, Nikhrail, Ratni, Maheshpur, Jhowa, Rupauli and Minapur of Dagarua block, who have taken shelter on Mahananda embankment.
Mohammad Suleman of Ratni said: “All our belongings have been swept away by the gushing water of Mahananda.
About two lakh people of 17 blocks of Baisi in Purnia are living along national highway (NH)-31. “We had to desert the relief camp and take shelter along NH-31 after rumours that flood will be followed by an earthquake started making rounds,” said Tallu Marandi of Belwari village.
Mohammad Jahangir and Mohammad Zafar of Charaiya panchayat said, “We are going without food no relief from the government has reached us.”
Many truck drivers, who have been stranded on NH-31 since Sunday morning, are also being forced to go without food. “All dhabas (eateries) and shops on the road are closed,” they said.
“I have exhausted the foodstuff I was carrying. With dhabas closed, I can only wait for the water to recede,” said Surendra Jadhav, 45, a truck driver from Chandigarh. Jadav, who was carrying palm oil to Guwahati, is one of the truck drivers stranded at Baisi.
“There is no dhaba on NH-31 till Islampur (West Bengal) or on NH-57 towards Muzaffarpur,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Kosi embankment near Balba in Navhatta block of Saharsa district in north Bihar is safe and flood fighting measures are underway.
Dozens of villages in Mahishi and Navhatta blocks of Saharsa are in the grip of flood. Villages such as Ara Patti, Murali, Ghongepur, Bhelahi are the worst-affected.
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Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said an atmosphere of hate had been created in the country that was driving a wedge between different communities and called for efforts to arrest this trend.