Safety concerns move up to Bihar, Jharkhand post Cyclone Phailin

People run for shelter following a cyclone warning at the Bay of Bengal coast in Gopalpur beach in Ganjam district about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Bhubaneswar.(AP Photo)

With flood warning issued in Bihar in the wake of Cyclone Phailin, the state government has sounded alert in 28 flood-prone districts and asked its officers to maintain constant vigil on embankments, canals and reservoirs to meet any eventuality.

Due to the impact of Phailin, light to moderate rains lashed different parts of the state since early morning and a heavy downpour has been forecast for the next three days that may trigger a flood-like situation in North Bihar.

"Light showers have been lashing Bihar since Sunday morning due to the atmospheric pressure created by cyclone Phailin. The sky had turned overcast since last evening and a thick layer of cloud enveloped atmosphere causing intermittent rains throughout the state," said Patna MET Director Ashish Kumar Sen.

He said that the depression created by cyclone Phailin would stay in Bihar till October 15 precipitating heavy rainfall in South and North Bihar. "While heavy rains lashed south Bihar on Monday, the upper catchment area of Kosi and Gandak in Nepal and north Bihar districts will witness heavy rainfall particularly on October 15 that may trigger a flood-like situation," Sen said.

Floods are feared in Bihar and Jharkhand, with the forecast of heavy to very heavy rains. (AFP Photo)

In view of the flood threat, Bihar water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary held an emergency meeting to draw up a contingency plan to tackle any eventuality. He said adequate precautionary measures have been taken to deal with any crisis.

"In view of the Phailing-induced heavy rains in Jharkhand and catchments area of major rivers in Nepal, an alert has been sounded to all officers to keep constant vigil on embankments, canals and reservoirs so that quick response be made in case of any crisis," Choudhary told HT.

The principal secretary of the disaster management department (DMD) Vyasji also held a meeting with the officers to review preparedness for a likely flood-like situation amid the weather office forecast of heavy rainfall in Bihar over the next three days.

Vipin Kumar Rai, the officer on special duty in DMD, said that the district magistrates have been directed to take all precautionary measures to deal with any flood-like situation. Two NDRF teams have been deployed in Supaul and one each in Darbhanga and Gopalganj districts with IMD predicting heavy rainfall in Nepal and north Bihar districts.

In addition, teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been put in place at Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Bhojpur, Jehanabad and Patna districts, while a reserve SDRF team will remain stationed in the state capital.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had held a meeting with senior officials, including the chief secretary and the state police chief three days ago to review flood preparedness. He had also directed district magistrates of the flood prone districts to take necessary action.

The government has already cancelled the leaves of doctors and energy department officials and asked them to remain on vigil.


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