Bihar Drought 2010This summer, once more, the Indian monsoon has been quite merciless. Too much rains at one side, too little or none at all at the other.Statistically, you are bound to find out that the 2010 all-India monsoon has done quite well, with just 2% short of expected rainfall. In Bihar, however, rainfall shortage is of over 25%, creating one of the most suffocating droughts the state has ever witnessed. To get an idea of the situation, watch this video taken from NDTV News.

Droughts bring famine. And famine hits the poor and underprivileged foremost. From our friends in Bodhgaya, we are receiving alarming news. The price of daily commodities and necessities is becoming very high. Rice, for instance, is noz at 25 rupees per kilo, while last year it was 16 rupees per kilo, and dal (lentils) is 70 to 80 rupees a kilo while last year it was just 48-50 rupees per kilo. With such prices for food, famine is at hand.

Bihar Drought 2010With famine comes disease. The number of patients at our mobile clinic, visiting the villages of Bapunagar, Arjunbigha and Chhotaki Parariya, is increasing rapidly. The key issue is, of course, malnutrition. Jeevan Deep urgently needs to extend itsMedical supplies, if we want to continue addressing the concept of free clinic, as we have done ever since we started.

Meanwhile, at another level altogether, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said that despite the State facing natural calamity for the fourth year in succession, it is on the path of development. Bihar is facing natural calamity for the fourth year in succession. While the state faced devastating floods in 2007 and 2008, drought has hit the state for the second year in succession. Despite the state facing natural calamities, Bihar is on the path of development, said Kumar after unfulring the tricolour at the historic Gandhi Maidan in Patna on the occasion of the 64th Independence Day, August 15.

Or, so one sees: disaster strikes the poor and underprivileged, but India's economic boom proceeds unrelentingly...

(Francis Laleman)