Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kosi revisited

A lone tree still stands amidst stark sand filled surroundings which were once lush green farmland. This is one of the few landmarks that survived the deluge.

Kosi revisited: Gwalpada is a small town 15 km's south from Madhepura. This region was ravaged by a fierce flood in 2008 & the inhabitants of this region are still facing the hardships caused by the flood and its aftermath. Worst affected are those who live in the interior areas & do not have good connectivity with bigger towns of this area.

Bhanwar tola or Bhanwar pokhar is such a village. Located 15 km inside of the Gwalpada town, it is still cut out from the main road as bridges on either side of approach road had been washed away in floods & not yet been repaired.

We visited this area earlier this week & distributed Blankets & warm clothes to these people who have been living on the embankment for a long time now. The ward member of this area had been in regular touch with us after the floods & as promised to him earlier this year, we distributed the blankets there as soon as we received them.

Staying overnight at Madhepura, we left for Gwalpada early morning, around 3.00Am. We had to reach them before daybreak to avoid being stopped at other villages in the route as we were carrying blankets. We drove in almost total darkness because of heavy fog with visibility down to 5 meters at times on the broken embankment approach road. It was a difficult ride, but we managed to reach Bhanwar tola before daybreak


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Blanket distribution ~Kosi flood victims

We reached the Bhanwartola around 5am & were received by the village ward member who then guided us to this settlement.

The only source of warmth for these people are blankets & small bonfire from dry vegetation. They don't have permanent shelter & live under rough thatched shelters & plastic  sheet covers.
Its kind of difficult when all the people around coverage on the vehicle to get blankets, but after the initial rush things settle down and distribution is done according to the list of beneficiaries handed over to us by the ward member.

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Blanket distribution

It was heartening to see that the blankets & warm clothes for women & children which we had distributed last year had given them some warmth. Although many of these clothes were in tatters, it had helped them see through last winter. In fact the only warm clothes they have were the ones given by us last year. No one from any other relief agency have been here.
It gives a bit of satisfaction to see & hear that our small but continued effort has helped these very poor people, isolated deep inside the Kosi devastation area

Its the children out here who break your heart. Barefoot, with just a pair of shorts or shirt, they prance around excited,inquisitive and smiling, always. Many of them have suffered a lot, infected with diereses, weak from malnutrition & confused about their future. Despite all this, their cute little faces beam up every time you talk to them. Its amazing, how tough they have become in at small age. Its humbling.

Residents of Bhanwartola,Madhepura,

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