If my wife dies, I will hold the government responsible. I will leave her here, on this flooded pathway

"If my wife dies, I will hold the government responsible. I will leave her here, on this flooded pathway"

Floods are continuing to wreak havoc in Bihar. When a snake bit Mohammad Alam's wife Shabnam Khatoon, the villagers plonked her on a charpoy and waded through waist-deep water to take her to the nearest hospital, which was 10 kms away. This happened in Janipur village in Madhubani district in Bihar, which is one of the worst-hit districts in Bihar

Mithilesh Dhar

Mithilesh Dhar   20 July 2019 2:33 PM GMT

"If my wife dies, I will hold the government responsible for her death. I will leave her here, on this flooded pathway," said an angry Mohammad Alam, who lives in Janipur village in Bisfi block in Madhubani district, Bihar.

His wife, Shabnam Khatoon, 30, was working in her house when a snake bit her. She fell unconscious. They rushed her to a quack. When her condition deteriorated, the villagers plonked her on a charpoy and waded through waist-deep water to take her to the nearest hospital.

"The hospital is 8-10 kms away. Most of the pathways are flooded. On some stretches, there is neck-deep water. We will try to get her to the hospital. But we can't do more than this," he said.

He added, "We are not new to the floods. This happens year after year and every years we lose a family member. I have three young kids. I am thinking about them now."

Death toll reaches 92

Floods are continuing to wreak havoc in Bihar. The death toll in Bihar stands at 92 while 66.76 lakh people from 12 districts of the state have been hit by the calamity. Sitamarhi district is the worst hit.

The Gaon Connection team is reporting from Madhubani district. There are 28 Gram Panchayats in the district's Bisfi block. All are submerged in water. While people are suffering, they said they haven't received any help from the government. They complained that the government hasn't provided them with any relief material and even the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team is missing in action as of now.

To reach Janipur village, where Mohammad Alam lives, these days one has to be dependent on boats. But the government hasn't provided them with any. There are no relief camps in sight.

On July 14, the dam on the Kamla river, flowing close to Madhubani-Jhanjharpur blocks, broke as a result of which many roads got washed away and water was flowing though many National Highways. Many villages are still cut off from cities and main markets because of this.

There are snakes and pythons

Mansa Devi, 56, who lives in Janipur village, has shifted to an elevated ground to escape flood water along with her daughter-in-law and three grand-children. When the Gaon Connection reporters went to her, she rushed to them in a hope they were government authorities who were there to help her.

"Thankfully, it's not raining otherwise it would have been difficult for us to live here. We moved here because we started spotting snakes and pythons. There are no men in our house. We didn't know where to go," she said.

She too was angry at the government. "They don't give us anything. They never issue any flood warnings. Else, we could have packed our groceries. We haven't received any food packets so far."

According to information provided by the state's Disaster Relief Management Department, 13,73000 in 18 blocks of Madhubani districts are affected by the floods. There are four relief camps in the district, which have given shelter to 3,721 people. This means the rest are still struggling.

"I haven't eaten anything in three days"

"There is water everywhere. I haven't eaten anything since past three days. The government is claiming they are distributing flattened rice, but haven't got anything," said Naushad, 21, who also lives in Janipur village.

He added: "This happens year after year. Last year my home got washed away, but I haven't got any compensation so far."

On Friday, the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, launched a direct benefit transfer scheme for the flood hit. Under this scheme, each affected family, under the Public Financial Management System, will get Rs 6,000 in their accounts. The government is claiming that they have already transferred Rs 181.39 crore to the accounts of 3.02 lakh families.

But when we met Mohamma Nisar, who live in Nau block in Madhubani district, he said: "After the 2017 floods, the government had promised to give Rs 6,000 to the flood-hit. I didn't get a penny. This year, I have spent Rs 40 to get my Aadhar card made. I am not sure if I will get compensation this year."

When we asked Madhubani ADM Durga Nand Jha why hasn't any relief material reached the affected, he said: "People are lying. Those who have got help, even they claim that they haven't received anything. Our teams are working round the clock. They are also tired."

The volunteers from Mithila Student Union are working in many districts. Union leader Priya Ranjan Pandey said: "The government is not bothered about people. Lakhs of people are affected, but not a single authority has visited so far."

While the water level is receding in many districts, situation in Madhubani continues to be grave. In Madhepur, the Gehuma river is flowing above the danger mark and on Friday water level increased in many villages like Bhagwatipur, Bagwasa, Bishe Landugama. The big relief, however, is that water level in Kosi and Kamla rivers is receding.

Pics: Abhishek Verma

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