PATNA: With several rivers still flowing above the danger level and new areas getting inundated on Monday, the flood situation in Bihar’s northern and eastern districts turned grimmer, sending rescue and rehabilitation teams into an overdrive.
As many as 308 people have lost their lives by latest count, said officials of the state disaster management department, adding that the toll could go up. The rescue teams were put on extra alert as the meteorological department predicted more rains with thunderstorms in the next 24 hours.
People in several flood-hit areas on Monday protested against unavailability of relief material. As many as 28 teams of NDRF and 20 teams of SDRF, apart from the Army and the Air Force personnel, are engaged in evacuation and rescue, said officials. The floods have affected nearly 1.28 crore people in 164 blocks of 18 districts.
Araria district accounted for 71 deaths alone, Sitamarhi (34), West Champaran (29), Katihar (26), Madhubani (22), East Champaran (19), Darbhanga (19), Madhepura (15), Supual (13), Kisanganj (11), Gopalganj (9), Purnea (9) Muzaffarpur (7), Khagaria (6), Saran (6) and Saharsa (4), Sheohar (4).
“Several rivers including the Gandak, Burh Gandak, Kamla Balan and Ghaghra are seen flowing above the danger level. All efforts are being made to evacuate people from vulnerable areas,” said a senior official of the disaster management department after a meeting with chief minister Nitish Kumar.
In Muzaffarpur district, thousands of people fled to safer areas as the waters of an overflowing Gandak river entered their villages. Low-lying areas such as Mathiha, Bariyapur and Jhigaha were inundated and got largely cut off from land. Floodwaters also entered parts of Muzaffarpur town.
In Darbhanga district, a ring embankment was breached by the rising pressure of water and at least eight villages were inundated. But NDRF and SDRF teams evacuated the villagers in time, said officials. Floodwaters entered the northern parts of Darbhanga town, forcing people to escape to safer places.
Nitish Kumar was scheduled to undertake another aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Monday, but a technical snag in his helicopter prevented it, said officials.
The CM asked senior officials to do their best to prevent the loss of lives due to flooding of habitations and to ensure diseases do not spread at the 1,336 relief camps set up by the government.
Meanwhile, train services continued to be affected as floodwaters have overtopped tracks.
An East Central Railways statement said train services have resumed on some sections under the Samastipur division with speed restriction.Chief Public Relations Officer of the ECR Rajesh Kumar said 11 trains have been cancelled for on Tuesday.