Around five lakh people affected in Bihar flood
A total of 4.6 lakh people in 245 panchayats of 10 districts have been affected by the deluge that has displaced more than 13,000 people.Updated: Jul 23, 2020, 14:15 IST
Close to half a million people in nearly a dozen districts in Bihar have been affected by the flood that has cut a swathe of destruction across the northern parts of the state, the disaster management department said on Wednesday.
A total of 4.6 lakh people in 245 panchayats of 10 districts have been affected by the deluge that has displaced more than 13,000 people. So far, 4,845 people have been put up at 16 relief camps, according to a release issued by the department.
However, there has been no report of any loss of life so far, it stated.
According to the state’s water resources department, the Kosi, Budhi, Gandak, Kamala Balan and Lal Bakeya rivers, flowing above the danger mark at many places, have been showing a receding trend or were stable.
Water Resources Minister Sanjay Kumar Jha asserted in a statement that “all embankments in the state are safe” despite an increase in water pressure because of heavy rainfall in areas along north Bihar’s border with Nepal earlier this month and again in the last 24 hours.
The minister claimed the embankments were “in better shape than ever” on account of the use of sheet pile while repair works were on before the calamity struck.
“We are fully prepared. All repair works were complete before the floods came. Surveys of the flood-prone areas have been made beforehand with the help of drones. Personnel are involved in relief and rescue work, and engineers have been deployed in areas deemed to be vulnerable,” he added.
Life was affected in large parts of Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Supaul, Kishanganj, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, East Champaran, West Champaran and Khagaria districts due to the flood.
Large parts of Areraj sub-division in East Champaran have been marooned, Sub Divisional Officer Dheerendra Mishra said. “About 25,000 people from 18 villages have fled their homes and are taking shelter, along with their livestock, at nearby school buildings.” NDRF Ninth Battalion commandant Vijay Sinha said in a statement that 21 teams have been pressed into service in 12 districts, taking people to safety and distributing food and other essential items.
A 10-year-old girl in East Champaran was rescued by a team led by ASI Kaushal Kishore from her remote flood-hit village where she suffered a snakebite. She was carried NDRF personnel to a safe place where medical help was available, he said.
Meanwhile, the floods caused the state’s political temperature to rise further.
Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, who toured districts such as Darbhanga and Madhubani and distributed food among the flood-hit people at many places, accused the ruling dispensation of having left the populace to fend for themselves.
“I was appalled to see that these people have been compelled to take shelter in cramped surroundings, throwing to the winds social distancing which is still necessary in Bihar on account of the explosion of COVID-19 cases,” Yadav told reporters at one of the spots visited by him.
The RJD leader drew flak from the BJP, a partner in the ruling alliance in the state, which accused the former deputy chief minister of “himself being in a hurry for electoral gains”.
“Tejashwi Yadav’s antics show that he is himself in a hurry for electoral gains. Instead of cooperating with the state machinery, he is holding gatherings which could potentially lead to a fresh spurt in coronavirus cases,” BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said.
The BJP spokesperson’s accusation was a rebuttal to the charge by the RJD leader who has been advocating postponement of state assembly elections, due in a few months, and alleging that the ruling coalition led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted polls to be held on time, “unmindful” of the health risks involved.