Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update from ground 27th Aug 2008

Dear friends,
I could not reach Forbasegunj, our vehicle was almost washed away near Naugachia, but it was our fault as we chose the wrong route. I am sending the following medicines to Forbesgunj by train, hopefully it should reach Forbesgunj by tomorrow evening:

Chlorine water purification tablets- 120000
Paracetamol 1000ORS 1000B complex 1000Entroquinol 500Domperidon 500Cetrizin 500Pot. Permanganate 1000
Life jackets, along with stuff like matchboxes, candles etc.
Situation is getting worse, with a new breach of about 1.5 km on the eastern canal system.
Senior irrigation department officials are camping near Bhimnagar acanalj in Nepal for the last week and now they have started to contain or at least try to contain the damage. Hindustan construction is doing the same on the western wing.
The whole eastern canal system is severely damaged. It will take at least four months to contain despite best efforts. The devastation on Nepal side is less and the government and the army there are undertaking the relief work in systematic and planned way.
Bihar government is also doing credible job given the magnitude of the problem, but that just aint enough. All of us have to chip in with whatever we can. Main requirement now are boats, they are the lifeline. People are stranded 20-30 km away, in the interiors . There are vast areas which are unattended because of lack of power boats.
I wont dwell on negatives, we hav to move on and stay positive, focussed and consistent. This catastrophy is going to linger around for a long time. Bihar Govt, SSB, ITBP, NDMT and other sub govt agencies are doing their best, but the magnitude of this flood drawfs all effort.
Today, despite their best effort, less than 10000 people were resqued. The struggle is on. To make matters worse, its started to rain again. I wil be leaving for Forbesgunj again on friday. To those who want to reach those areas, one of the best roure is through Nepal ( Patna-Muzaffarpur,Darbhanga, Jainagar ( Nepal Border), Inarwa, Biratnagar, Forbesgunj (India) This route crosses Kosi river above Biratnagar barrage in Nepal, its the safest way to cross Kosi.
I am attaching letters by Raj/ Manish sent today;

Dear Chandan,

After 1 week of our futile deliberately trying to tell different News agencies about the graveness of the situation in this part of the country, they have now all of a sudden (when one minister starts to call this more devastating than Tsunami) started to pour their stories some of which is still far from the ground reality. Actually the situation is worse. Think about flood taking away a member of ur family, ur cattles, home and after all this u stay surrounded all around by water, no way to escape, without food already for 7 days waiting for rescue team in vain. This is the situation of more than many lacs population. My brother called me up today from a place and cried trying to explain me their situation. Government cannot handle this alone or they stared it too late i.e only yesterday, 8 day after the disaster struck. They are actually too inefficient, too selfish, and undevoted. What we need is dedicated NGO's who can come here quickest and flood the place and start. Flood Victims who have been rescued have lost their homes and everything. They need food, shelter, clothes, for at least few days.
So we need 2 important things now.
1. Dedicated people here, who can come here soonest, have got the experience with flood relief and with rescue effort.

2. At Forbesganj we need to start a relief camp, a large one, which is well organized and maintained. We need Ur help on this one.

-Dr Manish
Dear Mr. Chandan
The water level and the inundated area keep on fluctuating depending upon the direction and water quantity in the flow.

All the rescue and relief work is concentrated at SURSAR, making it an ideal and model of rescue and relief camp. Other interior area is still waiting; whatever comes first- the death or the relief.

People, trapped in the river has started realizing that this is not flood but the river and are willing to leave the place before they die out of thrust, hunger and disease but there is inadequate rescue boats and team. Many villages are still unattended and the inhabitants must be hopeless about their survival. Dead bodies, not only of animals, but also of HUMAN are stuck in shrubs and decaying in water. People consuming contaminated water have started suffering diarrhoea. Victims have taken shelter on the banks of canals, Road sides etc. in dense condition. Their unhygienic habits and lack of sanitation is worsening the situation.
Epidemic like cholera etc. is bound to break.
The rescued and escaped victims are now in a dilemma as to where to go and what to do.
The question for them is 'what after rescue?'
Need is to run huge relief camps at bigger towns like Forbesganj where the victims from rescue point may be referred and entertained till their rehabilitation.
This is a long term and extensive work which requires not only huge funds and manpower but also the expertise and Team to handle such mega project.

You can get in touch with them by phone or by email (

All the medicines that have been bought are from flood relief collections last year, and I again thank everyone for helping the flood victims Special thanks to One Bihar team for having continued with flood relief work. The main requirement which is going to be determinative in saving lives are Boats and life jackets.
I do understand the pain and helplessness of all of you who are not here,and cannot do much about this tragedy.The strength and integrity of a society comes to the fore at times like these... and l can proudly say that Bihar and Biharis have NOT given up.They are fighting for every inch as they battle Kosi. They are fighting for the impossible, but they are fighting.
I am also proud that our CM has stood up and is leading the fightback with all that our poor state can conjure. He was the first to tell exactly how bad the situation was and how important it was for the people residing in the new path of Kosi to leave everything and evacuate immediately.This has saved thousands of lives.
The struggle for life goes on. Do not give up, do not stop from trying to do anything that you can, including prayers, for the life of millions who are stranded directly in the path of a hungry relentless river taking in water at the rate of 100000 cubic feet per second and levelling anything that is in its path.

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