Floods in Bihar and Assam have killed at least 170 people and affected 1.07 crore others till Monday. More than 104 have died in Bihar alone, with a further 66 lives lost in Assam and over 1,500 relief camps opened across both states. It has also killed over 200 animals, including 16 endangered rhinos in Kaziranga National Park, and led to the Brahmaputra and Baghmati rivers flowing above danger marks.
The trail of destruction across both states has also affected Bollywood actors Manoj Bajpayee and Adil Hussain, who are from Bihar and Assam respectively, on a personal level, with the two telling NDTV that floods had forced their respective families to abandon their homes.
"I've seen this happen every year. This time water entered my brother's house, which my brother and I built in Goalpara town, and my mother had to be carried to higher ground. But there are way worse situations. People have died," Adil Hussain, 55, said, questioning the lack of political action and the reason behind it, "I cannot understand why we haven't found a long-term solution."
An emotional Manoj Bajpayee, 50, whose parents' home was flooded two years ago, also stressed on the need for long-term solutions, urging elected representatives of people in flood-affected areas to act.
"I'm more than concerned. I am angry. Some of the pictures I have seen on social media are heart-wrenching. People are dying every year. That is the concern," he added, "Are we willing to put all our resources and experts on the table to find a solution? The political and bureaucratic intent is essential. For god's sake, elected representatives must act. Please sit down and find a solution."
"The political will is always important. The representation of the people who are suffering must take it up with the centre. It is a sad situation that an actor in Mumbai is representing them," a clearly emotional Mr Bajpayee said.
"These are not problems that have come suddenly - they have been happening for more than 40-50 years. Look at Baghmati River which floods every year - it has been killing people and ruining crops. What are we doing about it?" he continued.
Mr Hussain said he found it difficult to accept that with all the resources at hand, the government had been unable to respond effectively to an annual floods crisis.
"I cannot buy that. I should not be sitting here talking about floods. I am actor. People who have been voted to power, have been given professional salaries, They should do their job. Why aren't they doing their job. That is my question," Mr Hussain said.
Both Manoj Bajpayee and Adil Hussain also declared themselves ready to become part of a film on floods, with Mr Bajpayee also warning that individual or collective action by civil society was not an answer to the problem.
"Everybody should donate as much as they can," he said, on Amitabh Bachchan's donation of Rs 51 lakh to the Assam government, "But my question is - is that the solution to a recurrent problem?"
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