Patna: Anger over lack of relief and no help whatsoever, flood victims continued to protest on Thursday in several places across Bihar. Hundreds of hungry flood victims blocked national highway 57 in Muzaffarpur district demanding relief.
After days of struggle without proper food, drinking water and milk for children, the flood victims blocked the national highway near a high school under Gaighat block for hours. This caused traffic snarls on both sides of the national highway.
“We are not demanding gold or diamond but food and water to survive. This is our right. We have been battling for days without proper food, but the government has no concern for us. It has forced us to protest,” Rabinder Yadav, a marginal farmer, whose standing crops were destroyed by flood water of swollen Bagmati river,said.
Suraj Sahni was also unhappy over lack of relief or any other help by the government. “We are passing days without food, we somehow manage to survive by consuming dry chura (flattened rice) with salt. There is no clean water to drink, amid growing fear of the pandemic. It appears the government has left us at god’s mercy”.
Yadav and Sahni are among thousands of flood victims who have taken shelter on a higher land on national highways and embankments.
In the past week, flood victims have blocked national highwas 57 and 77 at several places demanding adequate relief, but no relief has come so far.
The protests paint a different picture than what the Nitish Kumar government has been claiming repeatedly, of providing adequate relief to flood victims. These also expose the lies of the state disaster management department of providing adequate assistance to them.
On Wednesday night, a group of angry flood victims, who were staging a protest demanding adequate relief in Sakra police station in Muzaffarpur, reportedly attacked the local police team when it tried to end the road blockade. Some policemen were reportedly injured and admitted in a government-run hospital for treatment.
Early this week, hundreds of flood victims in Goapalganj district blocked the Patna-Mohammadpur state highway 90.They alleged that the local administration had failed to provide them plastic sheets to cover themselves, as a result of which they were forced live in the open after being displaced by flood waters.
Mahendar Yadav, convenor of Koshi Navnirman Manch, said despite numerous protests by hapless flood victims demanding relief, there were hardly any media reports highlighting their plight. “This is an irony that angry and hungry flood victims and their real miseries are being ignored by all”.
Reports of anger growing among flood victims over inadequate relief distribution have been pouring in from 16 flood-affected districts.
In Darbhanga, one of the worst flood-hit districts, hundreds of people staged protests last week and early this week.
What hurt the people at several places, such as in Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, East Champaran, Madhubani and Sitamarhi districts, was that no government official had visited them so far.
What is raising eyebrows is the fact that despite over 6.6 million people affected by the floods, there are only eight relief camps, as per official data released by the state disaster management department.
Till August 4, there were 17 flood relief camps that were functional. But the department in its August 5 update mentioned only eight relief camps in which 12,202 flood victims have been staying.
As per official data 6,66,0655 people have been affected by floods in 16 districts of the state so far.
The government has evacuated 48,0884 people till date from marooned villages. About 33 teams of NDRF and SDRF are engaged in relief and rescue operations.
Officially, there have been 19 deaths due to floods.