Tuesday, September 2, 2008


You all must have read and seen the devastation in the Koshi river basin, whichoccurred due to the river changing its path. Koshi has probably broken free ofher bondage created by human intervention in the name of 'planning andharnessing' the river waters in the form of dams and embankments. It has,however, become clear that this is a calamity, which is not natural, but humanmade and no less serious than a Katrina or Tsunami. The reasons behind this areclearly, degradation of the vast Catchment of Koshi spread over two countries,negligence of the repair and maintenance of Koshi barrage, massive siltation inthe absence of catchment area treatment and the embankments, all of which havecreated havoc through water logging and breaches in those. While it is true that this may not be the right time to debate over theresponsibility and accountability, one must constantly bear in mind the sorrystate of affairs, which prove the utter callousness of the state anddemonstrate the tragic exposure of violation of environmental laws, ecologicalparameters as well as people-centred river basin management. It is in thiscontext that the unprecedented condition created in the districts of Madhipura,Sipoul, Khagaria, Areria needs to be witnessed with horror and anguish. TheState is, as is being seen, by and large incapable of handling the catastrophewith the required humane approach and sensitivity. More than 20 lakh people are said to be stranded in the waters with hundredsamong those drowned or died, and lakhs of people trapped, not receiving foodnor is the arrangement for rescue, said to have been done through helicoptersor boats, adequate. One cannot even imagine, how the administration, withlittle or no help reaching out to the interior areas as well as townshipsencircled in the flood waters may prove to be of help, to save the lives of thelakhs and lakhs of humans, many of who must be helpless and voiceless in thissituation. It is Bihar and not Gujarat, where rich capitalist NGOs and others might makethe relief and even a hand for rehabilitation flow. This situation may or maynot be depicted on the TVs and in the media but a letter given further below,written by a retired army official, is self-explanatory and surely aneye-opener. None of us should stay away in this time of colossal human crisisand must reach out to the people of Bihar in whatever way we can .......WE ALSO URGE YOU TO WRITE TO THE CHIEF MINISTER OF BIHARFax: 0612- 2224129 E-mail: cmbihar-bih@nic.inImmediate Relief Needs: Clothes: In Good condition, for adults and children ofØ all ages, – bedsheets, woollen clothes, umbrellas, rain coats etc. Medicines: A list of the requirements is given farØ belowFinancial help: Necessary. Please withhold for a very few days,Ø until we areable to give you the account details of where the money must be send. Volunteers: We would also need to have many young and activeØ volunteers, whohave the experience of working in situation of calamity (such as Tsunami, earthquake etc). We will soon be leaving for Bihar with a team. Those who want to volunteer andare willing to work hard, in a situation of challenge and adjusting to whateverconditions, are most welcome.
Please consider the urgency of the situation and do all the needful Contact:
Pervin Jehangir Medha Patkar Raj Kumar
022- 22184779, 09820636335 07290-222464 09424385139


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