No let-up in flood fury in Bihar, toll touches 24
Flood conditions in north Bihar remained grim on Monday, with swirling waters of various rivers originating from Nepal on Monday swamping fresh areas in four more districts by breaching and overtopping safety embankments at different places.
As many as 24 persons have died in different flood related incidents in the state, even as the quantum of discharge in the rivers from Nepal has scaled down over the past 24 hours. Maximum number of fatalities was reported from Araria, where nine persons drowned. Two each died in Sitamarhi and Kishanganj. The flood claimed one life in Sheohar.
According to the disaster management department (DMD), about 25.66 lakh people living in 546 panchayats of 77 blocks of 12 districts have been hit by the current spell of floods, caused due to heavy rain in the Himalayan region and catchment areas of rivers like Kosi, Gandak, Kamla Balan, Adhwara and Bagmati.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar carried out an aerial survey of the inundated areas of Kosi region on Monday while the Opposition party leaders staged protests in the state legislature over the government’s alleged failure to protect embankments and carry out adequate rescue and relief operations in the affected zones.
Angered by the officials’ apathy to repair embankments of Kamala Balan in Madhubani, some of the flood victims caught hold of Jhanjharpur MP Ram Prit Mandal on Sunday and assaulted him. He was, however, rescued by the officials. Araria MP Pradip Singh also had to face the people’s wrath when he went to enquire about the condition of marooned people in Forbesganj.
The discharge of water in rivers like Kosi, Mahananda and Gandak decreased on Monday as compared to Sunday, even as floodwaters entered dozens of villages of four more districts, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Katihar and Purnia. Other districts already reeling under the flood are Sheohar, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Madhubani, Araria, Kishanganj, Supaul and Darbhanga.
Sitamarhi remains the worst-hit district in the state, where water from Bagmati, Lakbakeya, Adhwara and Lakhandei rivers have swept 105 panchayats and affected more than 12 lakh people. Sitamarhi-Nepal road link via Raxaul has been snapped as the road has been submerged under five to six feet water.
According to DMD officials, about 196 relief camps have been set up in the flood-hit areas and 644 community kitchen are being run to provide food to the people taking shelter there. As many as 26 contingents of the SDRF, NDRF and the Seema Sashatra Bal have been roped in to carry out rescue operations.
A total of 125 boats have been pressed into service for rescue operations.