PATNA: A rescue boat of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came as a vehicle of life for Farzana Khatoon and her newborn in Bihar’s flood-hit Madhubani district on Wednesday. She gave birth in the boat, helped by a medical team of NDRF.
As the floodwaters rose around Kahrara village in Benipatti block of the northern district on Tuesday night, cutting the village off from surrounding areas, Farzana and her husband, Bilal Ahmed, were utterly helpless. Farzana, pregnant with full nine months, had birth pangs and cried all night, and Bilal found no means of help.
“My mobile phone and those of many other villagers were switched off as there was no power for the last three days. An NDRF team that was engaged in evacuation work in another part of the district learnt about our distress and came in the morning,” said Ahmed, full of gratitude for NDRF.
On seeing the precarious condition of Farzana, the NDRF men summoned their medical team and it reached there within ten minutes.
“My wife gave birth in the boat, in the middle of swirling waters spread out for kilometers all around us. I might have lose both my wife and my child without NDRF’s timely help,” said Ahmad.
“We acted fast after learning of the situation with that family in that isolated village. Our team has so far brought thousands of flood-affected people to safety,” said Vijay Sinha, commandant of NDRF’s 9th Battalion.
In flood-affected Purnea, Muzaffarpur and Katihar districts, six pregnant women were successfully evacuated from their water-engulfed villages and taken to the nearest hospitals for delivery on Tuesday, said officials.
The death toll in Bihar’s flood-hit northern and eastern districts rose to 70 on Wednesday even as evacuation and rehabilitation work continued on full swing. There were reports of breach of embankments by swollen rivers in some places.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was scheduled to make an aerial survey of the flooded areas for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, but bad weather prevented it.
“Nearly 50,000 flood-hit people are being provided free food and water in the relief camps set up by the government,” said deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.