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The Delhi Walla volunteers in flood hit Bihar.
[Pictures and text by Mayank Austen Soofi]
I spent a week volunteering in relief efforts in flooded regions of Bihar.
I’m told that the people of Bihar, one of India’s poorest states and also one of its most beautiful, are used to man-made tragedies. This flood happened because someone up there in the government failed to provide for the maintenance of the dam in neighboring Nepal.
So, cracks appeared over the years. Those who should have been alarmed did not care. Fast forward to August, 2008 when the monsoon lashed the land as usual. The rain fell, the dam’s walls further softened, the river Kosi flowed with a stronger current and all hell broke loose.
Whom to blame?
The engineers, bureaucrats and ministers responsible for the mess-up must be punished, of course.
But what would be the compensation for the people who lost their lives, the goats and cows that drowned, and the temples and mosques that vanished? What would be the compensation for the devastation of farm fields? What would be the compensation for the trauma caused to women, men and children as they waded through neck-deep water for dozens of miles in search of dry land?
Just how to calculate the total compensation for Bihar’s misery?
Now, this is home
Whom to blame?
Hope too has drowned