PATNA: Fearing the fury of the Kosi flood, people are fleeing to safer places in hordes. The warning issued by the Bihar government created panic in most parts of Supaul, Saharsa, Madhubani, Purnea, Araria, Khagaria and Madhepura districts of the Kosi region.
The government on Sunday ordered forcible evacuation of people living in the space between the river and its embankments in nine districts. “We have invoked the provisions of the Disaster Management Act to initiate forcible evacuation of the population living in the danger zone of the Kosi. So far, we have evacuated 16,800 people, but over 60,000 are still present between the river and its embankments,” Disaster Management Department Special Secretary Anirudh Kumar told reporters.
“Our latest estimates show 4.25 lakh people living around the Kosi could be affected if the river swells drastically. We are trying to shift all of them,” Kumar said.
However, a local activist alleged the government had underestimated the population living close to the Kosi.
“The number may be around 20 lakhs, and the relief work is grossly inadequate,” he said.
A major landslide has obstructed the flow of the Bhote Kosi, a major tributary of the Kosi, at Jure in Sindhupalchok district, Nepal, located north of Kathmandu and 260 km from the Bihar-Nepal border.
“Currently, 28-32 lakh cusecs water is stored in the river, and its discharge would create havoc,” said Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. “There was no immediate threat of flood in the Kosi, but the situation might take an ugly turn if there is an excessive discharge in the river owing to the sudden removal of blocks in the Bhote Kosi,” he said.
Thirteen units of the NDRF have deployed along with Army personnel in the region. The government has opened 137 relief camps for the evacuees, 17 of them to accommodate cattle.