Indian flood victims allege discrimination in Nepali relief camps

September 4th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Kushna Dam (Nepal), Sept 4 (ANI): Indian flood victims have alleged that they are being discriminated by the authorities at relief camps in Nepal.
The Indians, hailing from the flood hit Bhawanipur in Bihar, who had taken refuge over the Kosi dam in Nepal were shifted to relief camps after the repair work on the dam started.
These victims accused the relief authorities at the camp of discriminating against them while distributing food relief.
The authorities at the relief camp have issued coupons to the flood victims that need to be shown at the time of distribution of relief material.
The Indians alleged that precedence was being given to Nepalese, when the flood victims queued for taking relief material, and complained of being harassed. We are not getting any relief. We are wandering here and there. I am starving for past two days. They are not giving us anything to eat. If we go to take coupons from them, they give it to the Nepalese first and ask us to come next day. When we go the next day, they tell us the food is not available and ask us to come another day said Vipin Kumar, an Indian national.
The Indians are not the only ones facing difficulties at the relief camps, the Nepalese too lament of being deprived of the relief material, but acknowledge that being Nepalese citizens, they are still able to get some relief material as compared to the Indians who are unable to get any.
The rich people take the relief material by directly approaching the authorities, but the poor people like us are not able to get much of whatever relief material comes in for us. Still we being Nepali citizens are able to manage to get a little of the relief material, but the Indians who are here are facing a tough time as they are being discriminated against and are not being provided with the relief material by the authorities, said Permeshwar Jha, Nepali citizen.
The relief workers, however, denied the allegations of discrimination against Indians and said that everyone was being helped at the camps.
There is nothing like that. There is no discrimination between Indians and Nepalese. We are distributing the food in orderly manner. We will not go and give food at their homes, but whoever is there at the camps, is being provided with food, there is no discrimination, said Anand Kumar Thakur, a relief worker.
The flooding was caused after the Kosi River breached a dam in Nepal. This unleashed huge wave of water that smashed mud embankments downstream in Bihar.
The waters of Kosi river, known as Bihar’’s river of sorrow for its regular floods and tendency to change course, gushed into Bihar inundating vast areas and affecting around three million people.
Over 650,000 people have been evacuated so far, but there are tens of thousands still marooned. Activists and local media say the death toll could be many times higher than official estimates. (ANI)

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