Flood is one of the highly devastating natural calamities. It is a regular phenomenon in India. Every year thousands of lives are lost in flood. Lakhs of people are rendered homeless.
Property worth cores of rupees is washed away. Every year government spends hundreds of cores of rupees to rehabilitate the flood victims. Thus, flood creates an extra burden on the exchequer.
The sight of flood affected area is horrible. Last July I got an opportunity to visit my ancestral village in Darbhanga district of Bihar. My uncle lives there. I was caught in flood. At the same time, I got a chance to have a horrible experience there. One night I was fast asleep, suddenly I woke up to hear a loud noise. Water had entered the house. The barrage on the Gandak River had broken and the river was overflowing its bank. People were fleeing for their lives. My uncle’s house is a three-storeyed building. People had come there to have a rescue. I was also woken up from the sleep, as I had slept in the ground floor. I along with so many people was asked to move to the second floor. People were alarmed. They were mostly those people living in mud huts. They were crying for their belongings. They had fled empty handed. They had left all their belongings in their homes which were certain to be washed away by the flood.
In the morning, I went to third floor to have an overview of the scene. I was shocked to see the terrible sight. There was nothing except water there. In some far-off places huts appeared as tiny small toys. Poles, pillars and trees were submerged in water. At some remote places people were standing on the roof top to escape from being washed away in flood. A large number of cattle were seen being flown away in mighty current of flood. Standing crops in large expanse of areas were washed away. There were no activities. Life seemed to have come to a halt.
People had nothing to eat. Therefore food packets were being dropped for them. There was an occasional noise of flying helicopters. The flood victims had rays of hope in their eyes to get something to eat. The next day the administration made arrangement for the food and shelter of those victims. The ravage of the flood continued for two-three days. Then the water began to recede. People took a sigh of relief. There was joy of returning to their homes. At the same time they had the bigger challenge to re-start their lives. Mending their homes, arranging their cattle, starting agriculture, were a few questions which they had to solve. Though the government gives financial relief to the flood victims. Unfortunately, they fail to reach the needy and the targeted. They are sucked in the mid-way. So, the naked reality of life is to be faced on their own.
The tragic scene of flood has haunted my mind. I still shudder at the mere thought of those scenes. But to millions of Indians this is a stark reality which they are destined to face routinely every year. Government should do something serious to sort out this problem.