Accessing safe drinking water during floods in North Bihar

This season in the region is commonly referred to as – Barh (flood). For centuries local people have treated it as ‘a way of life’, and found ways to deal with it. Post independence, this ‘way of life’ gradually transformed into an assured annual devastation. The once self-sufficient communities in the flood plains have been relegated to being highly dependent on sources external to the village for their survival during floods.

The changing face of floods in the region is characterized by frequent breaching of embankments and a more than doubling of the flood prone area between 1957 and 2002. Each successive flood has led to more devastation than ever before. Floods in 2007 devastated 25 million people; in 2004 it created havoc in the lives of 21 million people; in 1987 it affected 28.2 million populations; in 1974 it disrupted the lives of 16.39 million people. The scale of the impact of 2008 floods spanned across 993 villages in 412 panchayats located in 35 blocks of Supaul, Madhepura, Araria, Saharsa and Purnia districts. A total of 3.3 million populations were affected.

Apart from the physical and economic loss, health of the local population encounters maximum deterioration, the impact of which extends far beyond the flood period, resulting in loss of life, affecting individual efficiency levels and putting additional financial burden on an already stressed environment. The fact that this is a recurring phenomenon makes matters worse.

Download the below attachment to read entire article