Flood survivors feel snubbed as they wait for relief to arrive

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, ITAHARI

Aug 17, 2017-“All I want now is a tarpaulin sheet,” said Dev Narayan Yadav, a flood victim of Shivanarayan Tole Ward 10 of Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City in Sunsari. “My family has been living under the open sky since floods hit our village on Friday,” said Yadav, who runs a small hotel. His electric rickshaw, yet another source of income, was swept away by floods.

Like Yadav, nearly 400 families in the locality who were hit hard by recent floods triggered by torrential monsoon rains, are waiting for relief from the government. 

 Most of the houses in the area have been completely destroyed. 

As rains have abated and floodwaters are slowly receding, people in the eastern districts now are struggling to come to terms with the disaster. Most of the people cannot move in to their houses yet, as they have to clean the sludge and debris deposited by the floods. Though the government has said it has stepped up efforts to distribute relief materials, flood survivors say they were yet to receive anything from the state. 

In Morang, flood victims obstructed vehicular movement for an hour at Gangachowk in Budhiganga Rural Municipality, demanding immediate relief. More than 11,000 families have been displaced in the district. Mohammad Abdul of Rangeli-2 said he has been on the road since Saturday after the flooded Chheka stream inundated his house. 

In Rautahat, where around 300,000 people have been affected by floods, victims wondered for how long they will survive on beaten rice. 

Food is scarce and there is a lack of basic medicines. Most of the hand pumps have been buried. The flood-affected people said they were increasingly worried about disease outbreaks. They have been forced to drink contaminated water. “If we drink this water, chances of falling sick and dying are high. But if we don’t drink this water, we will surely die,” said Dhan Kumari Rai  of Shivanarayan Tole. 

Locals of Gairigaun-4 of Itahari, another most affected area, said they don’t know when they will get relief from the government. The Janajati- dominant area, with nearly 300 households, has been completely destroyed and people have lost almost everything. Most of the houses have not cooked since Friday. 

“We have nothing to cook. We are surviving on little supplies from the local temple,” said Pushpa Kafle. “We have received nothing from the government yet.”

But Sunsari Chief District Office Gopal Prasad Parajuli said temporary relief materials had reached the flood-affected people. “No one is hungry. We are coordinating with local bodies and representatives for relief distribution,” said Parajuli. 

(With inputs from Rautahat and Morang correspondents)

Published: 17-08-2017 07:24

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