The Bihar government, faced with the task of evacuating lakhs of people, received some bad news from the Met office on Thursday: Very heavy rainfall is predicted over the next 48 hours in the catchments areas of the Kosi and adjoining areas.
More villages of Purnia, Saharsa and Madhepura drowned on Thursday, and moved by the sufferings of over 2 million people, the state’s legislators and ministers decided to donate one month’s salary to the chief minister’s relief fund, said Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.
Around 400 boats have been pressed into service and 1.26 lakh people have been evacuated so far. “We have evacuated people but many more are still trapped, some in inaccessible areas. It’s a tough job as the water had spread in the width of 30-35 km,” said CM Nitish Kumar.
The floods have hit nearly 25 lakh people, the four worst affected districts being Supaul, Saharsa, Araria and Madhepura. The unofficial death toll has been pegged at 55 although official sources put it at 12.
Reports from Saharsa said surging floodwaters have mounted pressure on Saharsa-Maheshkut NH 107 while rail services between Saharsa and Forbesganj was disrupted. Water levels in Sour Bazaar, Patarghat, Simri, Bakhtiarpur and Sonbarsa blocks rose drowning roads at several places.
In Madhepura, people started fleeing to Purnia town as news of a breach at Madheli siphon spread this morning. Bangmatiya village’s 200 residents are surviving on stale rice puff and drinking the floodwater.
Sakhua Singh, a landless labourer, and his family of six were promised relief a week ago. They are still waiting. “My wife and son are unwell. We are praying that the waters will recede soon so that we can take them to a doctor.”
Another villager, Gangu Singh, said: “We are giving our children the polluted floodwater to drink. There is no other option.”