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Memory of 2008, panic in ‘safe’ areas off embankment

- Villagers ready with belongings and important documents before transfer to relief camps set up by administration

The flood panic has struck thousands of villagers even in the otherwise safe zone off the Kosi embankment.

The administration in the Kosi region has not communicated to residents of Bheja, Nima, Balthi, Khajuri, Parsam, Ratwar and many more villages in the seven districts, as they are living on the outer side of the Kosi embankment, considering “safest zone”.

These residents have the terrible experience of disastrous flood, which had ravished their lives at different points of time. They know that the river can snap at any point on either eastern or the western embankment.

Foodgrain are being packed in sacks before putting on the roofs. Documents are also placed in bags so that they could be taken away if an alarming situation develops. Women in particular are not sleeping well and awaking all the night.

Bina Jha, a villager of Bheja in Madhubani district, told The Telegraph: “We are eyewitness to the Kosi disaster of 2008. Although we are not panicky this time, we discuss only the possible flood. We have packed our valuables and documents to escape if flood strikes. Embankments can snap at any place as they are weak that is why we are readying ourselves to escape to safety if required.”

She said: “More threat is to those families, which are away from the river basin than those living inside the basin because flood affects those more if embankment breaks. The administration keeps on informing about the rising of water level in the river. We are scared as the height of western embankment is hardly 4-5 metres from the river’s surface level.”

The administrative officials are busy evacuating residents in the river basin. They also warn people in the area of the possible flood in the Kosi and its tributaries with the best possible means of communication available.

Madhubani district magistrate Girivar Dayal Singh said: “We have evacuated about 2,000 people from the river basin to the relief camps. We have set up four relief camps and our administrative officials are camping at the embankment to keep close eyes on the situation so that people could be kept on high alert. Our first priority is on to those who are in river basin. Once we manage to them we would turn focus on others.”

Madhepur resident Ranjit Kumar Konwar said: “There are 11 panchayats, including nine of Madhepur block and two of Phulpras block of Madhubani district, about 250km northeast of Patna, in the river basin. Warning has already been issued so far and evacuation work was on. No relief work is on place for us despite we are undergoing a great threat as flood destroys people living away from embankment rather than inside the river basin.”

Several residents of the river basin are yet to be taken at nearest relief camps. The relief camps have been installed in all seven districts — Madhubani, Supaul, Saharsa, Araria, Katihar, Madhepura and Khagaria — which are on high alert at present.


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