Cell phones: Saviour of Bihar flood victims

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Patna, Sep 5: Mobile phones have become the saviour of lakhs of flood victims in Bihar this year by playing the most crucial role in largescale evacuation and rescue of marooned people from far flung areas. The availability of mobile phones to all sections of people across the flooded regions and their 24 hour connectivity during the crisis period, greatly helped the rescue teams to locate the cut off villages and localities besides saving many lives even from remote areas.

As the devastating flood this year caught everybody off guard because of its unique nature, the cell phone had turned out to be the greatest help to all at the most critical time. As soon as the people started realising the imminent danger after the swollen Kosi river changed its course, they started making frantic calls to their near and dear ones outside the flooded regions asking for immediate help and assistance.

Through cell phones the marnooed people were also able to remain connected with the district officials to guide them about their need and the urgency of rescuing them.

In absence of any other mode of communication, particularly the land line telephones, as most of which went under six to eight feet of water in the worst affected districts of Madhepura, Supoul, Araria and Sitamarhi, it was the connectivity of mobile phone network that had kept the hopes of lakhs of people alive.

But as the days passed by, the non-availability of electricity in large areas had posed great problem towards charging the mobile sets.

''This had forced us to form several groups within the locality to convey the news of our well being to outsiders in a relay system by using only one cell for all,'' said Mr Sushil Kumar of Barhigaon village in Madhepura.

Those who took shelter on the rooftops were also in touch with the rescue teams through mobile phones, as they were able to guide them to the right direction to trace them in the midst of vast sheet of water, said a mobile phone owner after being rescued by the local authorities.

Many others also used their mobile phones to inform the local television channels and newspaper offices about their plight. Some of them also informed the local administration about the latest flood situation and the crisis of food and drinking water to enable them to take suitable steps at the earliest.

UNI

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