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Thousands of flood victims in Bihar observe Ramadan fast
Monday July 15, 2013 6:42 PM, IANS

Thousands of Muslims in Bihar are observing the Ramadan fast despite struggling to survive amid inadequate relief in the flood-hit districts of Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar.

"It is difficult to observe fast when there is no arrangement for iftar at sunset to break the day-long fast and vail sehri (the meal taken before the break of dawn)," Feroz Ahmad of Bahadurganj in Kishanganj said.

His wife and four children have taken shelter in a school building where dozens, mostly their neighbours, are waiting for two days to get relief.

Ahmad said they were managing Ramadan fast with chura-gur (beaten rice and jaggery) -- and unsafe drinking water.

"Instead of traditional food cooked at home, we are eating chura-gur. It is affecting our health," he despaired.

Another flood victim, Manzar Alam, said it was a challenge to observe fast in such a situation.

"We have nothing to eat," said Alam, who took shelter at a high-rise embankment near a police station in Purnea district.

The Congress MP from Kishangaj, Ishrarul Haque, admitted it was a difficult time for flood victims during Ramadan.

Speaking to IANS over telephone, he asked the government to ensure timely relief for flood victims, specially those observing the Ramadan fast.

There is a sizeable Muslim population in Seemanchal, which includes Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar districts.

More than eight lakh people have been affected by floods in over half a dozen districts in Bihar, with thousands forced to flee their homes, reviving fears of the 2008 devastation.

In Kishanganj alone, more than three lakh people have been hit by floods followed by two lakh each in Purnea and Katihar.

Till date, the floods have claimed 13 lives in Bihar.

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