PATNA: The northern and eastern parts of Bihar were overwhelmed by a massive flood on Monday, raising the number of deaths to 24 in two days, as water from several rivers originating in Nepal entered thickly populated areas even as evacuation work continued by National Disaster Management Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Management Force (SDRF) personnel.
Majors rivers such as the Koshi, Mahananda, Gandak and Bagmati are currently flowing above the danger level due to incessant rains in their catchment areas in Nepal in the past three days. Twenty-five of Bihar’s 39 districts are under the grip of flood, and life for an estimated 30 lakh people has turned miserable and precarious. The situation has turned grim as the swirling waters led to snapping of railway and communication lines at many places.
“Sixteen teams of NDRF comprising 690 jawans, thirteen teams of SDRF with 440 jawans, and seven columns of the army with 525 jawans are currently engaged in evacuation and relief distribution work. We have requested deployment of additional three columns of the army,” said Pratyay Amrit, principal secretary of Bihar’s disaster management department.
With floodwaters flowing on the railway tracks at many places, the railways have cancelled eleven trains passing through the region and changed the routes of some others. At some locations, the tracks were seen hanging after soil from under them was flown away by the floodwaters. Railway officials said train services to the Northeast from the rest of the country have been stopped till Wednesday.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit districts along with chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh to take stock of the situation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to Kumar about the flood situation and assured him of all support from the Centre to mitigate the situation.
“The flood situation is grim and it is being closely monitored. Evacuation and rescue work along with distribution of relief material are going on properly,” said Kumar after completing the aerial survey.
Kumar said a number of top bureaucrats heading departments such as disaster management, road construction, rural works along with the district magistrates of all the districts would assess the situation on Tuesday. “There will be relief camps and food camps… Additional teams and Army columns will be deployed, too,” added Kumar.
As many as 24 people were reported to have lost their lives due to the flood in the past two days, but the state government confirmed 12 deaths so far. Eight people died at Gaunaha in West Champaran district while East Champaran and Supaul districts witnessed three and two deaths respectively.
The worst hit districts include East Champaran, West Champaran, Kishanganj, Araria, Purnea, Katihar and Supaul. Several villages in these districts have been submerged and the people were evacuated.