When the levee breaks

“We have lost everything”, a deep mourning voice came from Niyati Bagh (62). She has just returned to their only shelter at Singapur village of Ghatal subdivision in West Midnapore, after spending 6 days at a flood relief camp with her only son Biswanath Bagh (45) and daughter-in-law Sandharani Bagh (42). The Recent devastating flood washed away almost everything of their belongings, leaving only a fragile skeleton of house. Miles of submerged fields full of crops, raised heads of houses and electric poles everywhere in the vastly flooded areas – these are the common scenario here in the flood affected areas of West Bengal.

                     On the first week of August, 2015, death toll due to flood rose to 125 in South West Bengal area as the situation worsened by the continuous heavy rainfall and high tides triggered by the Cyclone Komen. Moreover release of fresh water in huge quantity by different barrages, in which DVC itself released 95,000 cusecs of water on 3rd of August, added fuel to the flood situation. “We somehow managed to escape from the high tide and took shelter at the local primary school. We had no time to carry or protect our belongings as the floodwater was engulfing the lands quickly.” – said Gorachand Chakraborty (65) in Ghatal of West Midnapore. Nearly 236 blocks in 12 districts of South West Bengal, mainly West Midnapore, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, Bankura and South 24 Parganas have paid the price. The affected areas included 55 municipal bodies and 814 gram panchayats covering 21,885 villages. According to the Disaster Management Department officials, more than one crore people have been affected and 7.43 lakh houses have damaged, while crop over an area of 12,92,372 hectares have been damaged. It has been said that altogether, 2,719 relief camps have been set up to shelter nearly 5.07 lakh marooned people. “We are trying to reach the affected interior areas to distribute the food, drinking water pouches and medicines at our level best” – admitted by some Disaster Management team members at Ghatal in West Midnapore. Almost 10 days have passed, but the situation remains unchanged in the affected districts mainly because of high tide and release of water from different barrages. Crops on which farmers depend for their annual income have been destroyed. Many are planning to head to the city for work. According to the locals it is the worst flooding in 15 years.