A school that saved lives in flood-ravaged Muzaffarpur

A school on an elevated platform and the ration stored in its godown for the students’ midday meal proved to be a blessing for the flood-ravaged residents of Bokchi, Tehrari and other villages of Katra block in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district.

As the water level in the Bagmati river rose alarmingly and spread to adjoining villages, inundating homes and fields, people began running to safer places. In Bokchi, Tehrari, Nawda and Musahar Tola, scores of people who refused to flee their village and were stuck in the flood, took shelter in the local Nawda Primary School. Since then, the school has become their temporary home.

“For nearly two days, we survived on the mid-day meal ration before the administration reached to us with additional grocery and set up a community kitchen there,” said local resident Sohan Sahni of Bokchi. She said all those who took shelter in the school had spent several sleepless nights as the water threatened to submerge it as well.

Though water has started receding, there is still knee deep water and people are unable to return to their homes. The district authorities have set up a community kitchen at the primary school serving them meals at least twice a day. During day time, when the elders leave the camp to assemble their belongings in the water ravaged homes, the children stay here, eat and sleep.

Authorities said, setting up community kitchens in schools is proving to be easier because the schools have well laid kitchens and necessary ingredients in the store. And with the school maids and cooks available, the task gets all the more easier, authorities said.

However, they agreed they were still struggling with other issues like health and availability of safe drinking water. “Some hand pumps that are submerged are quenching our thirst but several villagers have complained of high fever and headache and there is nobody to attend,” lamented local villager Sailu Kumar.

“Situation in the camp-cum-community kitchen at Nawda village is slightly better as there has been stockpile of mid day meal stuff with other requisites to feed the displaced flood hit people,” said Mohammad Imam, a school teacher who has been assigned the duty to run community kitchen and take care of the affected.”

First Published:
Jul 18, 2019 16:02 IST

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