A fire broke out in a sleepy hamlet of Dumari, Bihar in the middle of an April afternoon when a live electrical wire snapped, burning 250 makeshift houses down to the ground, leaving its poor residents homeless. “I’ve lost everything in the fire; there is no place to live and nothing to eat,” Sumitra Devi, a victim of the fire. Dalit and other marginalised residents of the village mainly engaged in agricultural work and animal husbandry lost all their precious belongings including their animals.
Community Correspondent Ranjeet Kumar, who resides next to Dumari village rushed to the site when the news broke of the fire to capture the havoc and anguish of the people present there. While the helpless residents called the Samistipur district’s Fire Department to help douse the fire, the department was unable to help them due to inadequate fire engines.
“The fire was stoked by the warm winds of the afternoon. Initially, the fire engine was engaged in dousing a fire in a nearby village. By the time, the fire engine reached the spot it was evening and the damage was gone,” Ranjeet tells us. Samastipur is spread over 2900 sq. km (1120 sq mi), with a total population of 4.25 million people, which is as much as the population of Oman. However, sadly the Bihar Fire Service in the district has only two fire engines to cater to its huge population
Bihar has been paying a heavy price for climate change this preceding summer. Bihar’s rural and semi-rural areas have had many unfortunate events of fire. Due to lack of LPG, cooking gas, in rural India, most households use Chulha, a traditional clay cooking stove with firewood which emits ember. Ember stoked by the hot, dry, western wind have led to fire incidents in the state which has destroyed about 22,000 homes and cattle sheds have been fully or partially in 2016.
Stung by fire incidents in various parts of Bihar due to searing heat conditions, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar government had also issued an advisory asking people not to light fire between 9 AM and 6 PM in rural regions.He had also instructed the Power Secretary to change loose electricity wire from various areas as a preventive step.
Call the Block Development Officer, Mohanpur, Bihar on +91 9431818570 and request him to compensate the victims at the earliest.
Community correspondent Ranjeet Kumar reports from Bihar for Video Volunteers.
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