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Bihar floods: Army, National Disaster Response Force helping in rescue operation

With Kishanganj being one of the worst affected districts, Bihar chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh said the state government had requested the Centre for choppers to assist in evacuation and rescue of the marooned.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2017 20:51 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Villagers in a flood-hit area in Katihar district of Bihar on Sunday.
Villagers in a flood-hit area in Katihar district of Bihar on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

The Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) will join the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in evacuation and rescue operation in flood-hit districts of Bihar, even as no casualty was reported so far due to floods. 

Of Bihar’s 38 districts, Kishanganj, Araria and Purnia were the worst affected by floods, while floodwaters had also partially affected Katihar and Narkatiaganj town in Bettiah of West Champaran district. 

While one column of Army personnel had moved from Danapur to Kishanganj on Sunday, three more were expected to be airlifted from Ranchi on Monday. The Army contingent from Ranchi would move to Purnia. 

Besides, 10 additional teams, each comprising 40-45 personnel of the NDRF, were also being deployed in flood-hit districts of Kishanganj, Purnia and Araria to strengthen the existing nine, NDRF battalion in Patna. A team each of the NDRF has already been deployed in East and West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Supaul and Purnia districts, while two teams have been positioned at Kishanganj. 

The Centre’s help follows Bihar chief minister’s talk with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Rajnath Singh and defence minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday. The chief minister also spoke to public representatives of these areas to assess the situation there. 

Addressing mediapersons on Sunday, Bihar chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh said the state government had also requested the Centre for choppers to assist in evacuation and rescue of the marooned. Airlifting of the marooned would begin from Kadamkhadi in Baisa block of Purnia district. 

Of the 10 NDRF teams being moved, he said four were expected to land at the Purnia Air Force base by Sunday afternoon. The teams were being moved from Mundali in Bhubaneswar. 

The unprecedented rain in Nepal and its catchment areas during the last 72 hours had worsened Bihar’s flood situation, as rivers such as the Mahananda, Gandak and Kankai were in spate. 

Singh said 1.75 feet rainfall was recorded in Kishanganj district due to the unprecedented rainfall in Nepal and Himalayan catchment areas in Bihar during the last three days. Kankai river, which did not have any water for the last 50 years, was also in spate in Kishanganj. The unprecedented rain had severely hampered communication, as most of the blocks and subdivisions were cut off with their district headquarters in Kishanganj. 

Flood waters had also entered the 60 relief camps opened in Kishanganj. “These would now have to be moved to higher places,” he added. 

The chief secretary said it was a huge challenge for the state government to move the marooned to safer places and ensure safety of individuals and their belongings. 

Principal secretary, disaster management department, Pratyaya Amrit, said the state government was also evacuating people from Supaul who were trapped between embankments. Arrangements had also been made to airdrop food packets in flood-hit areas, he added. 

Director-general of police P K Thakur, DG (homeguards) P N Rai, and principal secretaries Amir Subhani (home), Arun Kumar Singh (water resources) and Chanchal Kumar (chief minister’s secretariat) were also present on the occasion.