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Prison to sick and hungry, marooned Bihar villages hide horror tales of flood

Thousands of villagers in flood ravaged north eastern Bihar are stuck at difference places after road, rail and mobile phone connectivity fell into complete disarray.

patna Updated: Aug 18, 2017 20:21 IST
Aditya Jha/ Sagar Suraj
Aditya Jha/ Sagar Suraj
Hindustan Times, Purnia/Motihari
North Bihar flood,Araria situation,Champaran tales
Flood in Bihar’s Champaran. (Santosh/HT photo)

Jitendra Kumar, 20, a college student based in the north eastern Bihar district headquarters town of Purnia, is one deeply worried man.

His father, Chamak Lal Sardar is seriously ill at his native Amgachi village in Sikti block of adjacent Araria district, about 125 km north east of Purnia. But there seems to be no way of reaching it as all roads have been destroyed in heavy flood or of knowing Sardar’s exact condition.

Desperate, Jitendra borrow some money from this reporter, buys medicines for his father and steps into the unknown. He is determined to reach his village but has no way of knowing how that would be possible. Ditto is the plight of his co-villager Rahit Kumar.

Thousands of villagers flood ravaged north eastern Bihar are stuck at difference places after road, rail and mobile phone connectivity has fallen into complete disarray.

Most of the village roads in Kursakanta, Araria and Forbesganj blocks of Araria, Baisi, Baisa, Amour and Dagarua blocks in Purnia, Barsoi, Azamanagar, Hasanganj Pranpur blocks in Katihar and Bahadurganj, Teragachh and Kishanganj blocks of Kishanganj district are badly damaged.

“The roads of virtually ceased to exist, leaving people stranded at one place or another”, said Ashish Ranjan of Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS), a non-governmental organization (NGO) which visited flood affected areas of Araria.

The rescue and relief efforts are highly deficient”, said other JJSS members Kamayani Swami, Ranjeet Paswan and Shiv Narayan.

The flood that hit Seemanchal districts had also damaged Dighi bridge on NH-31, near Baisi, causing north east states to be cut off for a week and thousands of trucks to remain stranded between Gulabbagh and Baisi.

However, movement of traffic on NH-31 was restored on Thursday, much to the relief of all concerned.

Trains going to Northeast stand cancelled after flood waters overtopped railway tracks at many places.

“Thanks to damage caused to mobile towers, only BSNL and Reliance Jio seem to be providing some network in my area”, said Amardeep Singh of Bahadurganj.

Water level of all rivers in the region has been falling in the past 24 hours. But the real challenge before the administration was to get things going again. “The sooner the government restores the road network, the better it will be for people”, said Gobind Das of Chandpur under Kadwa block of Katihar.

In Motihari, NDRF assistant commandant Jay Prakash Prasad and inspector Kalimuddin told HT their teams had rescued hundreds of people in north Bihar’s east Champaran district but thousands of others remained trapped in the remote villages, waiting for help.

Recalling a operation in Dhaka locality, Prasad recalls how his team rescued five people in Sirni village. “ it was twilight when we spotted three people hanging from a tree branch and two others holding a bush.

“It was a tough call as the river was in spate and darkness was approaching. But we took the plunge and after an hour’s struggle rescued all five. But carrying out operations amid wading snakes and carcasses of cattle was a new experience”, Prasad said.

In areas where water was still rising, the challenge was to rescue people. But areas in which the water level was falling, the risk of diseases was high.

As such, civil surgeon Prashant Kumar had cancelled leave granted to medical personnel, issuing an SOS to counter water borne diseases and snakes bites.

Flood victims at many places complained of insufficient availability of food. Marachiya Devi of visited her village. People launched protests in Raghunathpur and Sikrahana, complaining that food packets had not reached them.

Former DM Anupam Kumar, sent to help out in controlling the situation, said aerial surveillance had been undertaken to find out the flood condition in remote villages. “We will now drop food from choppers among people in marooned villages”, he said.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 20:21 IST