Anshu Gupta


Bihar Floods


A mother holds her child in one hand as she holds on to the ration in another. (2008 Bihar Floods)

Post these floods, the Government of Bihar initiated Kosi Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Programme covering 30,000 affected families in Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura district which was later upscaled to 100,000 families after the signing of an agreement with World Bank . A support of Rs. 55,000 with an additional funds for a toilet and solar powered lighting to be provided to families. The devastating floods made many people homeless, snatched their livelihood and access to resources*.

There are certain images that never leave your mind and leave a permanent imprint in your head space. The expression you gauged as a photographer and the emotion you felt still haunts you. It's almost impossible to unsee these images. This is one such image for me, the motherly protection, the tight embrace and the uncanny expression makes it tough to move on without pondering the thoughts the mother must have had when she picked her child, some of her possessions and left the place she felt would have kept the two of them safe.

A woman with her child on a boat during Bihar Floods 2008

The floods forced nearly 3 million people out from their homes in Bihar*.

Disasters take everything from you, the life you built, the home you lived in, the clothes you wore, leaving you with almost nothing at all. For someone who just lost everything she owned, the woman in this picture is seen holding on tightly to her most prized possession - her child. They say that disasters bring forth the survival instinct of humans and the first person we think of saving is ourselves, but mothers, I guess, have some different strength that they put their child before themselves whenever faced with danger.

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