Flood Hit Bihar Victims Struggling With Hunger and Disease

by VR Sreeraman on  September 1, 2007 at 6:50 PM Environmental Health
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Flood Hit Bihar Victims Struggling With Hunger and Disease
Millions of homeless people in Bihar are battling hunger and disease while huddling inside thin plastic shelters and makeshift bamboo huts along embankments, state highways and railroad tracks.

Damodar Rai, a flood victim camping on the highway, said he was surviving on a day-to-day basis, hoping for relief and praying for the floodwaters to recede.

"It (the floods) damaged our houses, our foodstocks and our crops. Families and cattle have been starving and dying of hunger. We don't know how we will survive this nightmare," said Rai, who along with his family, has been sleeping on the roadside for nearly a month.

The last one month has seen some of the worst flooding in living memory affecting about 35 million people in the region.

According to the authorities, over 2,000 people have died in this year's monsoon, not including the latest casualties.

Kamakhya Narain Singh, a volunteer helping in the relief work, said he has witnessed gut-wrenching scenes of pain and poverty across Darbhanga, one of the worst affected districts in Bihar.

"People are dying of hunger. They have no food to eat, no clothes to wear. It has been raining non-stop for 25 days, and whatever food people manage to bring out from their houses, even that has been destroyed," claimed Singh.

People jostle for food and grain at a free wheat distribution center in Darbhanga district. They include old men and sun-burnt women with babies in their arms.

They are desperate to get something to cook and eat. Sita Devi, a flood victim, said she and her eight children have been starving for nearly a week.

"Everything that I owned, was washed away by the floodwaters. They have given us 25 kilograms of wheat and 200 rupees. How many days can we survive on that? What will we do after that? ," asked Devi.

Source: ANI
LIN/B

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