Institute for Indian Mother & Child
Report on Monsoon flood & water inundation in West Bengal
NATURE: Putting people to test
BY: Ms. Ratna Chakraborty, Ms. Sujata Paul & Shashi Sharma GSK
Every year Monsoon in West Bengal, Especially in South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly Districts put people to test for their endurance, Tenacity and survival skills.
During the monsoon here, Rains can continue for a week or so, without break, if it is accompanied by depression in Bay of Bengal then you should expect the worst of torrential rains and high speeds Winds, putting life out of gear even in big cities like Kolkata, Leaving behind some serious problems of Water logging, Broken roads, Broken houses, Shortage of food & fodder, Damaged crops, Loss of livestock and waterborne disease to be addressed on priority. As nicely put by Dr. Sujit.
Water, water & water all around. But not a single drop good enough for drinking.
An eye witnessed account-1
We have a network tie-up with Nagendrapur Anand Ashram (Local NGO) at Nagendrapur; Village situated on one of the islands of Sundarbans, the Delta region of River Ganges in south 24 parganas district of West Bengal. From Sonarpur It takes about 3 hours of drive by car, half an hour ride in three wheeled auto Rickshaw, and then 15 minutes walk on a Slippery mud road. (Consider yourself lucky if it is dry) There is no electric supply to this village, besides health and education related activities, our network partner have installed solar chargers and provide solar charged portable lamps, house to house.
IIMC is not only supporting this network partner with three health workers & Medicines, but on 5th August 2011 have laid foundation stone for a primary school and micro credit bank building. Villagers, We all at IIMC and our foreign volunteers were so excited, happy and bubbling with joy about this developmental project for village children getting their own school building.
Foreign volunteers involved themselves actively into the activities of putting layout plan and laying foundation stone and spent the whole day with these villagers sharing their feelings and exchanging culture by involving each other in their cultural activities developed on the spot. Every gesture of villagers was reflective of their happiness and gratitude to IIMC; they had already started weaving dreams around this project.
Today on 23rd Aug. 2011 we are again in Nagendrapur, not for school building but for some sad reasons, In fact on 14th August 2011, at IIMC we got the message from our network partners that Due to heavy rains and High tide the village got flooded and life is badly affected here, Villagers are into bad condition and they desperately need our support.
IIMC distributed 2.5 kg of rice, 1 kg of potatoes and 0.5 kg of onion per family, along with Medicines for common diseases to 225 badly affected families of the flood hit area.
The pathways we walked on 5th Aug. 2011, IIMC school site and paddy fields are all under water, Construction work is put on hold till water is drained out.
An eye witnessed account-2
Next victims of nature were two villages, Bidhichandrapur & Dakshin Monoshree in Howrah District; here we have two network partners Bidhichandrapur Chetana & Dakshin Monoshree Poverty relief society.
Frantic calls came from these partners for helping the people in their villages. IIMC immediately took a note of it and a team was sent to assess the damage and recommend the relief for these villages.
Team tried various routes to reach Bidhichandrapur but could not succeed.
Team headed for next destination Village Dakshin Monoshree.
Cattle were brought to road as that was the only safe place for them. Team left the car on the road as the road to the village was under water and was not safe to drive through; we along with foreign volunteers had to walk through the village pathways submerged in knee deep water.
Houses were damaged due to heavy rains leaving many families roofless.
Team has submitted its recommendations for relief material; IIMC will any day be sending it.