Tuesday, November 11, 2008



A fleeting moment of anxiety, perhaps hope; amidst a lifetime of poverty,fear & despondency.                                                                                                                    

I truly hoped that I will be able to give you some good news on flood relief , but not yet... a lot has to be done, specially as villages which were cut off till now have become accessible.

We are working in two areas, both on the same route; Rahata which is 20 KM away from Parwa embankment ( Madhepura) and Harijan tola, which is 10 KM from Rahata.

Since the last report, ITBP personnel have left the area as water level has receded and now one can reach Rahata by road . Although, its still difficult to take a four wheeler there , but carts and bikes can traverse up to Rahata.

We have distributed around 2500 cleaned & packed clothes, 80 KG biscuits, 1200 packets of cerelac,
Medicines, lactogen, chlorine tablets,soluble iodine ointments and 300 woolen caps in this panchayat.
The distribution is being helped by the Sarpanch of the village and that has made relief distribution easy and effective in this area.

We are taking clothes, woolen caps, blankets, cerelac & food grains tomorrow to be distributed at Harijan tola, which is 10 KM from Rahata, but still surrounded by water. The boat has to be changed at two places, and one has to cover around 5 km on foot to reach there. We are assured of help from Rahata sarpanch in form of boat and people to carry the materials' to Harijan tola.

We will be moving to Pratapgunj from there on Wednesday, carrying medicine & biscuits to villages which have been connected somehow by AMURT volunteers.

As the water level is receding, more and more villages are getting connected ; hence people who were taking shelter in relief camps are going back to villages. Occupancy in mega camps is slowly getting down, and in some cases, its only the most poor ,the unfortunate ones who are at these shelters. They have no place to go and nothing as their own.

These flood victims, who have lost everything ( of whatever little they had) are totally dependent on relief camps to survive. They are in shelters provided by our government, fed by our government, medically helped by our government….they are the poorest of the poor; they cant protest, they dont have the energy or will to oppose or choose an alternative shelter.. and they cant keep changing places from one camp to another,they are just too weak for that.

The flood relief administrators had made a commitment to run these camps till the conditions become normal,and I hope they will be doing that, come what may.

There is no clarity on the number of camps closed till date;and people fear that some more camps will be shut down . The apparent reason is that camp occupancy has become less and the people who are in the camp are very few.

Initially these mega camps were occupied by large number of people who were evacuated during the flood.As water started receding, people who could afford boat fare or who had relatives come down to take them back.. started going back to villages by boats, more followed later when water receded fully. In a way, people who could afford physical movement or fiscal incentives to get back to their villages have gone back.Its only the weak, poor and sick victims who cant make it back to their villages, or who don't have a address now in the camps.

There is no doubt about the magnitude and spread of this disaster..and any government would struggle to keep up with increasing demands; but after about three months into relief work, one would expect a more professional and focused effort from the agencies.

The other concern is regarding the status of repair at Kusaha.

It is imperative that the breach be plugged before snow starts melting in Himalayas and Kosi discharge picks up. It is a daunting task..but it has to be done.

If, for some reason, the repair work is not complete before Kosi discharge increases… it will be really bad. All the work that's being done now for rehab and reconstruction of the area will be washed away. The impact on population residing inside Kosi will be disastrous.

We hope that mother nature does not play any more tricks, and that the critical repair work is carried out within the specified time.

Anubha Ji & Kumar Gautam; Thanks so much for sending in funds, We procured woolens from 35K you sent us. A part of it is distributed in Ramganj & Rahata panchayat (Kumarkhund).
We would need more woolens & medecines .

The cattle in these areas are in very bad shape; we have been providing vaccines & deworming medicines to for them from our limited funds,..but they need much more than that. If any of you know of people/organizations who want to provide medicines/ vetenary help for these areas, please share their contact.


We would like to thank Mr. Manoj for joining our flood relief work at ground zero level. Thanks a lot Manoj Bhai...

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