Flooded village in Bhopal battles hunger, infectious diseases and property damage

By Sanavver Shafi

Bhopal, October 6 (IANS/ 101Reporters) “It was dark when the Kaliasot flood waters erupted. In no time, they rose to about a meter. We were sinking fast. We kind of moved our furniture and appliances on the terrace, and waited for the rescue team. We were transferred to a public school from here,” shuddered Saroj Bai from Samardha Tola village, 20 km from Bhopal, returning those days. .


Despite the rescue, she was more worried about the house. “I kept hoping and praying for the rains to stop soon. At dawn I rushed to the roof of the school and all I could see were a few roofs in sheet metal,” Saroj told 101Reporters.

From August 22 to 24, Samardha Tola looked like an island. About 70 houses in the village under Ward 85 of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation were flooded. Saroj said she didn’t feel like eating for those two days, but when they got home they had nothing to eat or drink. The mud had accumulated to a height of three feet in most houses. “It still stinks and the children are getting sick.”

Grocer Naresh Dhakad, pointing to the six-foot high floodwater mark in his shop, said his shop and house were in ruins. The water hit a height of 8 feet in his house and damaged the television, refrigerator and other appliances.

Saroj said they were well taken care of at school. They had poha-jalebi and tea for breakfast, and pulses, vegetables, roti and rice for lunch. Families also received food parcels for a few days after returning home, but the government “forgot about us since then”.

Fear of displacement

Samardha Tola has 310 houses and a population of 1,380. Although the government has issued land leases to them, the villagers are not allowed to build pucca (concrete/permanent) houses. They can only live in makeshift houses with tin or thatched roofs.

“The Kaliasot river is only half a km away and the water reaches the village when all the shutters of the Kaliasot dam are open. We live in fear of rain every year. The government should find a permanent solution without moving, because we built these houses with our life savings,” Ashok Gaharwar told 101Reporters.

Sapna Ahirwar asked why the government issued leases, if they were to be sent. Pointing to a nearby high-end residential settlement, she said: “About 20 houses in this settlement were also flooded. Influential people reside there. If the government moves us, will they also leave?

However, Bhopal collector Avinash Lavaniya told 101Reporters there were no plans to move people. However, he noted that an action plan was being prepared to prevent the Kaliasot from flooding the village. “An investigation is underway among those residing along the river, as part of a special solution report. There are no plans to relocate the villagers. But if there is a need to do in the future, a comprehensive and fair plan will be prepared,” he informed.

After the floods, the administration organized a camp in the locality to issue Ayushman cards and ration cards. However, the villagers wanted a quick payment of compensation because their houses were in disarray.

“Only we know how we manage to feed ourselves. We even had to borrow money to buy food. If you rely on government help, you will starve,” exclaimed Rajesh Lodhi, a villager.

However, most villagers still pin their hopes on compensation. The family of day laborer Deepak Dhakad have borrowed money for rations from their relatives, hoping to repay the debt with government aid.

Electrical shop owner Raju Malviya said he received more than 20 household items – televisions, fans and refrigerators, to be precise – for repair after the floods. However, people haven’t got their repaired devices back because they don’t have any money with them.

Sarita Vishwakarma said some government officials have visited households in the area to get their contact details. “Almost a month has passed, but there is no record of help or compensation. We have also heard rumors of displacement.”

However, Collector Lavaniya said officials from the District Disaster Management Authority conducted a survey to assess flood damage to homes, land, livestock, utensils and crops. Digital photographs and video were used to document details. “The investigation team has submitted its report and the amount of compensation will be released accordingly,” he said.

Infections on the rise

Following the floods, cases of colds, coughs, fever, respiratory problems, skin diseases and stomach aches are increasing. According to Dr. Ajay Singh, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhopal, a multi-specialty health camp was organized at Samardha Tola by a team of 20 doctors from Paediatrics, Gynecology, Dermatology, General Medicine, AYUSH, ENT and other departments. .

Around 800 people were treated, most of them suffering from seasonal infections. At least 32 critical illness diagnoses have been referred to AIIMS.

Community health worker Meenakshi Patle, who was part of the camp, said people and children were made aware of measures to minimize the risk of infections. They were told to drink only boiled water, to stay clean while cooking, to eat after washing their hands thoroughly with soap, and to use mosquito nets and repellents.

Acknowledging the risk of infectious diseases, Collector Lavaniya said the health department is carrying out fogging and anti-larvae spraying in flood-affected areas.

(The author is a freelance journalist and a member of 101Reporters, a pan-India network of local journalists.)

Source: IANS

Flooded village in Bhopal battles hunger, infectious diseases and property damage

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