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Bihar flood toll goes up to 202, as thousands still marooned in inaccessible interiors

Officials said the flood situation was likely to worsen further, as all major rivers maintained a rising trend and flash floods caused by torrential rains embraced newer districts, including Nalanda and Patna. 

india Updated: Aug 19, 2017 21:46 IST
Binod Dubey
Binod Dubey
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar flood,Toll 202,49 deaths in 24 hours
Flood in Katihar district of north eastern Bihar. (Santosh/HT photo)

With 49 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the toll in the unprecedented floods in Bihar jumped to 202 on Saturday, even as flood water spread to five more districts, enveloping a total of 20 out of the 38 districts of the state.

Lakhs of people marooned in severely hit districts of Araria, Purnia, Kishangang, Katihar, East & West Champaran and Sitamarhi had been evacuated but thousands more were reported to be out of reach of teams trying to evacuate them.

Officials said, the flood situation was likely to worsen further, as all the major rivers maintained a rising trend even as flash floods caused by torrential rains spread further to embrace newer districts, including Nalanda and Patna.

According to additional secretary, disaster management department (DMD), Anirudh Kumar, the catastrophe, which is considered to be unprecedented, has already claimed 202 human lives, with the maximum number of deaths reported from Araria (42), followed by Sitamarhi and West Champaran, where 31 and 29 lives, respectively, were lost.

Over 1.21 crore population has been affected by floods and the number was rising with each passing day. According to sources in the DMD, the actual number of people impacted could be 1.5 crore, as many villages lying between various embankments were yet to be accessed by the rescue teams.

“The real picture would emerge only after flood waters recede,” they said.

Kumar said altogether 6,25,788 people had been evacuated thus far and 4,22,106 of them had been accommodated in the relief camps.

Fifty one rescue teams comprising NDRF, SDRF and Army were working round the clock to evacuate the marooned population. If required, the number of the rescue teams would be increased, said the DMD official.

The NDRF, which has deployed 28 teams in various flood affected districts, evacuated 34,000 marooned people, and carried them to safer places. It also provided medical help to hapless patients through river ambulances. Apart from providing medical assistance, it transported doctors and paramedic staff to the flood hit villages.

The Army column and engineers’ task force (ETF) deployed in six districts – Katihar, Araria, Madhubani, Sitamarhi and East & West Champaran, rescued 1,200 people from submerged villages.

There may not be a respite from the floods in the next two-three days, as almost all the major rivers maintained a rising trend on Saturday. The Bagmati, Burhi Gandak, Kamla Balan, Punpun, Adhwara group of rivers, Mahananda and Ghaghra were flowing above the danger level, a central water commission release said.

In comparison to Friday, the discharge in the Kosi and Gandak on Saturday was heavier. As per the flood cell of the water resources department (WRD), the discharge in Kosi near the Birpur barrage was 1,77,135 cusec, whereas the discharge in the Gandak near Valmikinagar barrage was 1,47,500 cusec.

The Ganga was posing a threat to the state capital, flowing at 48.32 cm, just 28 cm below the danger mark. However, the silver lining was that the river maintained a steady trend on Saturday.

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First Published: Aug 19, 2017 21:46 IST