In spate for four months, the Saryu river has affected 88 villages in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh

With no help forthcoming, local residents are bringing down their own houses so they can salvage construction material.

Virendra Singh
| Updated: September 30th, 2020

Barabanki (Uttar Pradesh)

The Saryu river has been in spate for four months now, and the resultant floods have affected about 88 villages in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district. Seven people have died in three tehsils —  Ramnagar, Ramsanheghat and Sirauligauspur. Sixty families have lost their houses to the raging waters and the villagers continue to suffer immense hardship.

The river has already swept away around 15 houses in Tilwari village of Sirauligauspur tehsil of Barabanki district, 30 kilometres (km) from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow. The village has a population of just 500 people. “House after house is giving way, and people are breaking down their damaged houses so that they can retrieve bricks and wooden beams before they are consumed by water,” 40-year-old villager Mamata Singh told Gaon Connection. “No one seems to be bothered about us. Everyone is talking about an actress’ house being demolished in Maharashtra,” she added.

“Our fields were already flooded by the river and now even our house is about to be lost to the Saryu river. The government has not made any arrangement to settle us in a safer place. No one is listening to us,” she complained.

As per data provided by the Barabanki district administration, about 3,400 hectares of agricultural land across 52 villages and about 62,000 people have been affected by the Saryu river, which continues to remain flooded. 

“Numerous officials visited us, looked around and went, but there’s no respite,” 65-year-old Surya Lal of Tilwari village told Gaon Connection. “The floods have abated a bit, but the river is gradually eroding our village.”

As many as 16,300 cattle have been displaced by the floods in Barabanki, and all the connecting paths to these villages, including Tilwari, have gone under water. “The Saryu river has started eroding the land at Tilwari and it has been reported to the flood block officer,” Chhattrapal Singh Chauhan, SDM Sirauligauspur, told Gaon Connection. “Work has begun to stop the erosion and efforts are on to provide help to those affected by the flood,” he added.