Saptakoshi victims back home to rebuild lives

Itahari, September 27:

The swollen Saptakoshi has usurped everything they had. They have returned to their place, only to find land filled with sand and houses that have collapsed or seem to be waiting for a blow of wind to cave in.

“Sir, here was my sugarcane plantation. I had dreamt of buying many things by selling sugarcane, but the swollen Koshi has shattered my dreams,” a tearful Mahfauz Miyan told this daily in Paschim Kusaha.

“How can I console myself when sand has covered all my land?”

Leaving their women, children and parents in state-run relief camps, Miyan and other men have been guarding their deserted homes and land for a week.

Sand mounds dot Paschim Kusaha, which was lush green before the flooding. Houses that have not collapsed are in a dilapidated condition.

“Sometimes I think I am living in the middle of a desert,” Mustak Ansari of Paschim Kusaha 4 says, recalling the lush-green vegetation in the village before the Koshi havoc. “When will this desert turn into a lush-green spot?”

Almost all flood victims have similar questions in mind. They blurt out whenever they see a stranger, “Please tell us how we can grow crops here?”

Idris Ansari, who is in Paschim Kusaha-3 to look after his house and land, recals with eyes full of tears, “Koshi has swamped 10 bigha of my sugarcane farm. We have become refugees.” Ansari says, “We had not expected the Koshi to be so cruel against us.”

Men, who have returned to their dilapidate houses from the relief camps, say snakes and poisonous insects have put their lives at risk. We stay awake whenever it rains, they say. “We remain awake whenever rain lashes the area,” says Sriram Mandal of Paschimkusaha.

Back in their land, these brave men are surviving on food grains provided by the government.