Flood water inundates Katihar relief camps, admn struggles to shift victims

More than 1000 victims have decided to stay put, for now, in the Mohamdia Middle School and Kalsa Basic School relief camps, both flooded since Thursday morning, in northeast Bihar’s Katihar district.

patna Updated: Aug 18, 2017 17:10 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha
Hindustan Times, Katihar
Flood,Bihar flood,relief camps
The flooded premises of a school that has been converted into a relief camp, in Katihar district.(HT photo)

Basant, 50, has been on crutches for more than a decade, having lost one of his legs in a road accident. But his physical disability did not deter him on Thursday from wading through a flooded stretch to reach a safe relief camp near his village in flood-hit Hasanganj block of Katihar district in northeast Bihar.

With the camps at a basic school in his village, Kalsar, and at a middle school in nearby Mohamdia inundated, Basant was struggling to negotiate the swirling waters on way. He was, nonetheless, determined to take shelter at Pipra middle school, a few kilometres away, and that kept him going.

Hamar jhoparhi doob gele ho maalik” (My hut has been submerged), he said while moving towards the relief camp with all his belongings on his shoulders. “I had been staying the hut alone,” added Basant, who changed his name from Mahendra five years ago after the death of his wife Basanti.

Physically challenged Basant, on way to a relief camp at Pipra, in Katihar district. (HT photo)

Unlike Basant, more than 1000 other victims have decided to stay put, for now, in the Mohamdia Middle School and Kalsa Basic School relief camps, both flooded since Thursday morning.

“We are getting good food and all the washrooms are functional,” said Somiya Devi, 60, who has taken shelter at in Mohamdia Middle School relief camp.

Physically challenged following a polio attack, Bokai Mahaldar, 60, said the relief camp was like home. “We are a family and everybody here is very caring,” he said.

Nirmal Kumar Vishwas and Dwarika Mandal are, however, concerned about safety of their cattle. “We are being given food, but there is no arrangement of fodder for our cattle,” they said.

Eighteen government employees, who are working round-the-clock at the Mohamdia Middle School relief camp, said managing things would be difficult if the water level continued to rise.

“In fact, it is not possible to run a relief camp at an inundated place,” Aditya Kumar Singh, a school teacher, said.

Hasanganj circle officer Kamal Nayan Kashyap also admitted that the real challenge before the administration was to shift all the victims from flooded relief camps to safer places.

“They are not ready to move to other places,” Kashyap said, adding that it was now becoming increasingly difficult for the administration to manage things in the inundated camps.

When asked about fodder, the CO said: “We are trying our best to make it available. This year’s flood is unprecedented.”

Three major rivers flow through Katihar district. “When the water level in Mahananda is showing a declining trend, Ganga and Kosi are on the rise” an officer said, adding this year’s flood had exposed the hollowness of government’s measures to tackle flood.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 17:10 IST