By Manoj Pathak
A resident of Devpur village in Gopalganj district, Mukesh Kumar is homeless after his makeshift house collapsed in the surging waters of the Gandak river. His family has now taken shelter on a platform at Ratansarai railway station.
It was not only the kuccha houses but old pucca houses, too, which could not withstand the raging waters of the Gandak river this year.
A portion of the house of Manoj Giri, a Thana road resident, has also given way. Manoj has now sought shelter elsewhere. There are many such people whose houses have collapsed and in some cases entire villages have been submerged. They have taken refuge in government buildings or at railway station platforms.
Many villages, including Pyarepur, Sisai, Nawada, Devapur of Barauli block, have been submerged by the floods. Many flood victims are now worried about rebuilding their broken and damaged houses while many are worried about restarting their lives again. Flood-prone villages and displaced families are faced with a serious crisis.
The flood victims living at the railway platforms are facing the triple problem of toilets, drinking water and lack of food. Shivji Thakur, a Sisai village resident of Barauli block, says the village has been submerged in the floods and there has been no relief in sight.
He said, “We are taking shelter with our families at the railway platform, but there is no toilet facility or safe drinking water. A community kitchen is being run, but it is insufficient to feed the affected people.”
“Everything has been ruined in the deluge,” say flood victims Sunita Devi and Asha Devi, who are displaced after having left their villages.
“There is nothing left of the house. We have been displaced and have taken shelter near the dam since July 25. After cooking food for our children, we are busy in collecting fodder for the cattle. There is catastrophe all around. The village is completely submerged. Everything is ruined. Now God only knows how our households will keep on going,” they added.
The flood victims say they have built small huts with tarpaulin over the roof. The local administration did not provide them with even tarpaulins.
During the ongoing corona pandemic, the ‘fear of corona’ has become a thing of the past for the flood victims. Even maintaining social distancing norms is difficult.
Shams Javed, Gopalganj disaster department in-charge, said the government has been asked to provide polythene. He informed that community kitchens have been opened for the flood victims. Nearly 136 persons have been tested for the corona virus.