Bihar flood toll 72 as over 73 lakh people affected in 14 districts
The state government had pressed into service 50 rescue teams comprising columns of the Army, NDRF and SDRF, in the affected districts, along with 272 boats for evacuation of victims to the nearest relief centres.Updated: Aug 16, 2017, 20:23 IST
With 31 more deaths reported in the past 48 hours, the figure of flood casualties rose to 72 in the 14 flood affected districts of North Bihar on Wednesday. Thousands of people were stranded in the interiors of East and West Champaran and Seemanchal districts of north eastern Bihar.
Owing to the alarming situation caused by the flash floods, the state government pressed in 50 rescue teams comprising columns of the Army, NDRF and SDRF, which included around 2,100 trained personnel, in the affected districts, along with 272 boats for evacuation to nearest relief centres.
Additional secretary, disaster management department (DMD), Anirudh Kumar told HT that special relief operations, including air-dropping of food packets by army helicopters, were being carried out in the inaccessible areas, particularly in Araria and Kishanganj districts, from where the maximum number of deaths have been reported.
According to the disaster management department, 73.44 lakh people across the 14 districts in North Bihar have been affected by flood, involving 1,151 panchayats and administrative 110 blocks.
Officials said thousands of people had taken shelter in high rise school buildings, panchayat buildings and government premises. Others were stranded on embankments and national highways, under the open sky.
In view of the bad weather forecast, people residing in low lying areas had been advised to move to safer places. Red alerts had also been sounded in the villages located on the banks of the Gandak, prompting them to move to nearby highlands.
Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey said, doctors had been deployed at relief camps with adequate medicines and anti-snake venom drugs.
Railway lines in Araia, Kishanganj, Jogbani and Katihar had come under flood water, leaving scores of passengers stranded. Also, road links to several places, particularly in Seemanchal districts have been snapped.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, who were scheduled to undertake an aerial survey of Bettiah district, had to cancel their programme due to bad weather.
Officials said the flood situation was likely to aggravate further as major rivers including the Ganga, Ghaghra, Gandak, Mahananda and Kosi continued to be in spate on Wednesday.
Though there was less discharge in the Gandak and the Kosi, there was heavy current in the receding water with potential to erode the river banks and destroy infrastructure.
As per the flood cell of the water resources department (WRD), the Ganga rose by 14 cm and it was flowing at 48.09 mt here at the Gandhi Ghat in Patna on Wednesday. Its level was likely to rise further because of heavy discharge in the Ghaghara river.