NGO brings relief to flood-hit people of West Champaran

COVID-19 Event

Besides food, it gave shelter & hygiene kits

Bihar: As heavy rainfall and floods left lakhs homeless in Bihar’s East and West Champaran districts, an NGO gave succour to hundreds of people.

Hundreds of people lost their lives and dozens were reported missing after the calamity in late August.

 Aziz Ansari, a villager from Nautan block of West Champaran district, informed The Observer: “I lost my house and don’t have anything now. We slept anywhere we found a place in the night. The pandemic added to our problems.” He alleged they were not provided any help by the government. It was getting difficult for them to cope with hygiene issues.

According to government reports, the overflowing rivers, originating in Nepal, forced about 4.9 lakh people to evacuate, but only 11,793 people took refuge in shelter camps. 

The Bettiah Diocesan Social Service Society (BDSSS), an NGO in West Champaran district, helped in providing shelter and hygiene kits to 850 beneficiaries.

“We prepared a detailed project analysis looking at the situation and number of affected people in the nearby districts and sent it to the funding agencies for approval,” said Sumit Victor, project manager of BDSSS. “We started packaging the rescue kits as soon as the project got approval.”

Project staff working on the ground explained the objectives at a ward-level meeting that was held in the affected areas.

Sukhram Yadav, a field worker, said: “With the help of the Community-Based Operation Research team we made a list of beneficiaries. We took validation from the villagers and once they gave an agreement to the final list, we presented the list to the administration”. 

Madan Mahato, another resident of Nautan, said the distribution was fair. “The list was made with the consent of other villagers and everyone gave the validation on their own.” “They also helped the people who were not in the list; they repaired and chlorinated the hand pumps.”

Yadav said: “We chlorinated 85 hand pumps and repaired 25 hand pumps… under the supervision of Victor.”

Victor said he went to the affected area to verify the list. “Soon after identifying and verifying the beneficiaries, we started distribution.” The NGO followed every technicality in each step of the project. “We issued cards for identifying the beneficiaries and after the distribution we put a stamp as an assurance of credibility.”

Harikisun Yadav, a resident of Bairia village, said: “I didn’t know what to do when I saw flood water coming towards us. I took my children and ran in the opposite direction. Everything, including my three goats, was washed away. I don’t know where we would have lived if we weren’t provided shelter kits on time.”

Victor said: “Approximately Rs 18 lakh was allocated to the project. Each of the kits cost Rs 2,000. Each of the shelter kits had a 10ft x 15ft tarpaulin and a sheet of 10ft x 18ft. “We focused on hygiene which is why we added five packs of sanitary pads and eight Lifebuoy soaps to each of the kits for the affected women.”

Ansari said: “The hygiene kits which we were given had masks and gloves; at least that helped us from getting infected from the virus to some extent.”

Food relief kits were sponsored by Zomato Feeding India, an NGO. Each kit contained 6 kg of poha, biscuits, namkeen, milk powder and soap.

BDSSS also organized orientation camps for women and girls on the use of hygiene kits; they requested ASHA workers to make women aware of the need to use sanitary napkins.


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