Monday, August 20, 2007



Dear Chief Minister,
I write this open letter in the hope that you take urgent steps to help people with food, clean drinking water and medicines in flooded Bihar.
Our colleague photojournalist Vikram Kumar reports from Darbhanga that 8 persons, which includes 6 children and 2 women, have died from dysentry and viral fever in just two villages Hasanpura and Jaafra, 14 km from Darbhanga on the Sonki road. 35 children are in the Darbhanga Medical College Hospital, while most primary health centres are full with children being on drip. Lack of clean drinking water is the prime reason for such disease and death. Shockingly, halozen tablets which are the quickest way to clean water in such situations is simply not available even in the primary health centres.
When flood waters recede and people try to get on with their lives often they become victims of snakebites but anti-venom is also not available.
You could verify these reports at your own level but we would like to point that the people in flooded Bihar need help, even new areas are being flooded and your officers simply do not help people purely because the area has not been `declared' flood hit.
Flooded Bihar needs more doctors as well.
People need food, urgently, not affidavits in a High Court. This issue is not about scoring points, or denial or helicopter surveys, its about how efficiently your government can reach those that need help most urgently.
I have personally covered the Bihar floods for almost five years and know that the people of our state are very patient and courageous and take all calamity to be god-sent. The minimum we can do is provide relief until the water recedes and people return home.
Yours Sincerely,
Manuwant Choudhary

1 comment:

TV said...

We are trying to work on clean drinking water in the Gaighat and Kalyanpur blocks. Our experience shows that wherever the handpumps have been raised, it has been possible to get clean water which is good with just chlorine treatment. Costs 5 paise to make 25 litres potable. However, where this has not happened, it becomes very difficult as one has to go through the alum treatment - filtration - chlorine treatment routine. Also, now that diahorrea has broken out, we need a steady supply of basic medicines too.