Standing on the embankment erected to prevent water of Ghaghra river from entering further into Bahraich, Vinod Kumar shows his two sons their Chandipura village — now submerged in waist deep water.
Vinod, along with his wife, two sons and daughter, is staying at a relative’s house in Matrepur village, which is on the other side of the embankment, and so is unaffected by floods that have hit 28 villages of Kaisarganj tehsil.
“I had to leave my house after it was submerged. I could not keep my children there. My paddy crop planted in over four bighas is destroyed,” says Vinod.
Most people have left Chandipura village except a few who have pucca roofs. They come to the embankment on boats and have been steadily moving up their cots in their houses with the rising water level.
Another farmer from the village, Suresh, sits on a boat outside his house that is filled with water. His sons are sitting on a cot, with their feet touching watre, gazing at the reptiles clinging to a handpump. “The water level has been rising. If not today, we will have to leave tomorrow. But we are yet to receive any help from the government,” he says.
Bahraich is the worst-affected district in the floods caused by Saryu and Ghaghra rivers, which have suddenly risen with the release of water from Nepal. The entire Terai region has been affected since Friday.
Officials said as many as 14 people have died in flood-related incidents in Bahraich till Sunday. As many as 202 villages in Nanpara, Kaisarganj and Mahsi tehsils of the district are affected by the floods.
Chief Revenue Officer Uday Shankar Upadhyay said the floods have entered areas that had earlier remained unaffected in floods.
“This is after 20 years that this kind of floods is being seen in the district. The sudden release of water from Nepal gave no time to the villagers to prepare for evacuation. Many linking roads and the main road connecting Bahraich to Shravasti is cut off. Most of the area is flooded due to Saryu river,” he said.
Additional DM magistrate(finance and revenue) Vidya Shankar Singh said the flood has receded in Nanpara area after the water flowed further.
He said the IAF helicopter today dropped food packets in eight villages of Nanpara area and a camp has been set up there for 50,000 people.
Villagers in Kaisarganj area, where the water level is still on the rise, claimed they are yet to get any assistance from the administration. Gram Panchayat member of Sohras village Dharmraj Chauhan said the administration has not yet started any camp in his area .
Cattle, children and elders have all been standing on the embankment after they either swam there from their villages or were ferried by boats along with their beddings and gunny bags of wheat and grass.
“The water level is decreasing in Bahraich and Shravasti, while there is no sign of dip in water level in Gonda and Balrampur. We have started relief work at a war-footing by activating all the flood outposts. Today, helicopters dropped food in 60 villages of Bahraich, which have become inaccessible,” Arora told The Indian Express.
The water level of Ghaghra is on the rise. As many as 70 more villages of Barabanki district were affected Sunday and 25 of them have completely been evacuated, with people living in tents at embankments with their families and cattle. “We are trying to evacuate villages and no deaths have occurred here till now. Barabanki is not as badly affected as Bahraich,” said Barabanki DM Yogeshwar Ram Mishra.