Floods in Bihar: Pregnant woman reaches hospital in a tube boat

Amid the rising floods and absence of government help, locals help a pregnant woman reach the hospital using a makeshift boat.
Pregnant woman goes to hospital in flood in a jugaad boat (Source: Umesh K Ray) Pregnant woman goes to hospital in flood in a jugaad boat (Source: Umesh K Ray)

Flood havoc continues to increase in Bihar. Until recently, the effect of flood was only in eight districts across the state but now it has spread to ten districts.

According to the latest data by the Disaster Management Department, floodwater has inundated 426 panchayats in ten districts and affected 7,65,191 people and only 28 relief camps are operational for the affected population. Moreover, only a few people are staying at these camps and a large section of the flood-hit people are still engulfed in floodwaters, but no government help has reached them. However, as per the government claims relief material is reaching the affected.

An official from the Disaster Management Department has informed that "21 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are deployed to rescue the affected and eight relief camps are running in East Champaran, 12 in Gopalganj and five in West Champaran."

3.26 lakh people affected in Darbhanga alone

With 3,26,344 people hit by floods, Darbhanga is the worst affected but surprisingly not a single relief camp is operational here. However, according to the government data, 122 community kitchens are running in the region while two teams of NDRF and SDRF are deployed.

The floodwater has spread to 98 panchayats across 11 blocks in the region. Locals have alleged that neither the government aid nor adequate rescue boats have been provided to the affected panchayats.

A pregnant woman Rukhsana Parveen, who resided in Asraha village in Kewati block of the district, suddenly had a stomach ache. The village has been engulfed in floodwaters from the past few days and there was no boat for her rescue. Taking note of the woman's plight, the villagers built a boat using a tyre tube and wooden planks and she was taken to the hospital.

The relatives of the pregnant woman told that there was a dearth of help from the government, so the locals made a boat from the tube and then the woman was taken to the hospital. 

Her mother said, “There is a lot of trouble. Water has reached the courtyard of our house. The villagers prepared a boat out of the tube; otherwise, I could not have brought my daughter to the hospital.”

Sahil Abbas, a local youth in the village, who made the temporary boat, said, "We had to make the boat out of a tube, as only one rescue boat has been provided for the entire panchayat, which is inadequate for such a large population."

Village head Sajira Parveen told India Water Portal,

"Pregnant woman is disabled. When she got the pain, her father called me. We collected three to four boys from the village and built the jugaad boat and sent her to the hospital.”

She said, “In my panchayat, floodwater has inundated nearly 700 houses and in the last 24 hours, there has been a rise in the water level. The situation is critical. There is an embankment in the panchayat, which if breached, will lead to the inundation of another 400-500 houses. Therefore, we have engaged ourselves in embankment protection works."

Thyagarajan SM, District Magistrate (DM) of Darbhanga visited the panchayat two days ago. According to the villagers, the DM has promised to deposit Rs. 6000 rupees in the bank accounts of the affected families within a week.

Sajira Parveen says,

“There are four community kitchens in the panchayat where food is prepared and we distribute it among the affected families. People whose houses are on high platform and multi-storeyed have given shelter to the flood victims in their houses. Some people have also been sent in madarsas."

A district-level official said, “Along with deploying the team of SDRF for the panchayat, tarpaulin has also been distributed among the affected families.”

Water enters Kudhni village of Muzaffarpur

On the other hand, floods have also entered the Lalunagar Mahadalit township of Sadar block in Darbhanga, forcing people to move out of their house and search for shelter. Their houses are filled with water up to three feet and they are living on roadside taking the shelter of plastic hangings, but no help from the government has reached them, alleged the flood affected.

Forced to stay in flood waters for four days

Kudhani village in Turki block of Muzaffarpur district has been flooded for the last four days, but the government is not even aware of it. A resident of the village Kudhani, Kishan Sahni, who has resorted to chowki in his house for safety, told India Water Portal,

“There are 65 houses in the village and all the houses have been inundated for four days. Out of these only 4-5 are pucca houses while the rest are mud houses and no one knows when they will fall. Even in such a scenario, there is no help from the government, so the people are forced to live in their homes by risking their lives. ”

He further said, “The canal, which is connected to the Gandak River, has been filled with the river water and flooded the village. Earlier, it was in the year 2007, that the water entered the village. "

“We are in a lot of trouble. Most of the houses here do not have toilets and people have to go far enough with clothes open and they defecate only when they find an empty space. The government has not even provided any rescue boats to the affected village,” Sahni added.

He told us that there is a school one kilometre away. But, due to the fear of coronavirus, people are afraid to visit the school. Moreover, there is no arrangement from the government in the school.

Kishan Sahni informed that "We are spending all day sitting at the chowkis."

Floodwaters have entered 63 panchayats of nine blocks in Muzaffarpur. According to the data from the Disaster Management Department, there is not a single relief camp here, but two teams of NDRF and SDRF has been deployed.

India Water Portal tried to contact DM Chandra Shekhar Singh of Muzaffarpur district, but could not get through him. Following this, BDO of Kudhni block was contacted who asked us to get in touch with the Circle Officer. However, we were not able to get connected to the Officer. 

Birju Sahni, the ward member of five number ward of Kudhani village told India Water Portal,

“The water is constantly rising, but there is no help. We also met the Circle Officer and requested him to help us. He replied that the water has entered the animal sheds only and has not reached the houses yet. If the officials visit the village, then they will get to know where the water has entered. ”

Rivers are on the rise

Local youth showing hand pump submerged in floodThe water level of the rivers is constantly rising in the state amidst the dangers of spreading flood. According to the information received by the Central Water Commission, Kamala, Kosi, Mahananda, Gandak, Budhi Gandak and Bagmati are flowing above the danger mark in many gauge stations and their water level is rising.

The Kamala River is flowing above the danger mark at Jayanangar, Jhanjharpur and Jhanjharpur (Railpul) of Madhubani. At the same time, while the Gandak River is above the danger mark at Dumriabandh of Gopalganj and Rewaghat of Muzaffarpur, Budhi Gandak is also above the danger mark at East Champaran, Muzaffarpur and at the two gauge stations Samastipur and Rosda in Samastipur.

The Bagmati/ Adhwara River is flowing above the danger mark at three gauge stations at Sitamarhi, one each at Shivhar and Muzaffarpur and at three gauge stations of Darbhanga.

Here, the river water discharge has also increased. On July 24 morning, 1,68,835 cusecs of water was discharged from Kosi barrage while two lakh eighteen thousand (2,18,000) cusecs of water was discharged from Gandak barrage.

Due to the huge flow of water, there are some reports of roads breaking down in the region. The connectivity path of Jadopur-Mangalpur Mahasetu connecting Gopalganj to Bettiah has been broken, affecting the movement. Similarly, 100 feet of a road connecting several villages in Madhubani was broken, causing trouble to people. A road in Bishanpur has also been damaged by the flood water.

Your cooperation

In case you notice any cracks or other problems in the embankments in your area, then call the helpline number 18003456145 and share the information immediately.

You can also report on Twitter by tagging #HelloWRD, @WRD_Bihar (Department of Water Resources). On obtaining the information, the department will immediately inform the officials of the concerned area and prompt action will be taken.

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You can read the article in Hindi here. Authored by Umesh Kumar Ray; Translation to English by Swati Bansal

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