Mahottari, August 1:

Flood-hit Abdul Kadir of Bara Parsauni-9 and 13 of his kin are holed up in a tent at Khaira Chowk in Jaleshwor Municipality for the last 10 days, starving. Waiting to return home as soon as the weather clears, he hops about all day expecting relief material. It hurts and shames him before the other family members – two wives, nine children and his 70-year-old grandmother — when he has to return empty-handed.

Holding her under-nourished eight-month-old daughter on her lap Kadir’s wife Shahabunissa said, “Don’t they realise that we are human beings too? We can starve, but we cannot stand to see our children starve.” She also complained that the political parties, police, red cross officials, while distributing relief materials, treat them as if they were Indians. Kadir’s grandmother Safiajan said she is surviving on food provided by her grandchildren. She cried before this correspondent saying she could not take the starvation any longer.

Kadir and his family, who left home two months ago, said he deals in herbs and that he never had such a bad time. The eldest of his children is 18 while the youngest — a daughter— is eight months old. Their hope to return home at the earliest was dashed after erosion at different points on the Jaleshwor-Janakpur road section. Kadir’s second wife Saiful Khatun was worried that the herbs which are the only means of their livelihood are rotting due to the rain. Yesterday Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, two other ministers and a dozen MPs passed by Kadir’s tent but did not care to take a look at his family.

Kadir said the cheque for Rs 1 million as relief aid was wriggled away by those with influence. He recalled that the food given by the Madhesi Friendship Society one evening was unforgettable.