Patna: More than 17 lakh people have been affected by the floods in Bihar. The floods have claimed the lives of half a dozen people, washed away hundreds of thatched huts, severely damaged houses, roads, bridges and standing crops worth crores, officials said on Saturday.
The swollen river Ganga is posing a serious threat of floods in state capital Patna as well, as water entered low lying areas along the river bank in Patna in the past 48 hours. Hundreds of displaced families, along with their cattle, from different marooned villages in the riverine belt, locally known as Diara, have taken shelter at a few places in Patna.
Not only in Patna, the rising water level of river Ganga has also entered low lying areas in Bhagalpur and Munger towns.
After heavy rains in Bihar and the catchment areas of neighbouring Nepal in the past few days, the water levels of the Ganga, Koshi, Gandak, Bagmati, Budhi Gandak and Sone rivers have been rising to dangerous levels. As a result, the state Water Resources Department has issued a flood alert in North Bihar districts.
According to officials, river water gushed into hundreds of villages as well as over a dozen towns, affecting over a dozen districts created panic among the people.
Bihar Disaster Management Department officials said that more than 17 lakh people in 15 districts have been affected by floods. The districts affected most are Madhubani, East Champaran,West Champaran, Supaul, Darbhanga,Saran,Bhojour,Patna,Samastipur,Vaishali,Katihar,Khagaria,Bhagalpurand Muzaffarpur.
As per the department's daily flood report,1,299 villages under 82 blocks were affected. Official reports claimed that 13,463 people have been evacuated so far. About 36 flood relief camps and 178 community kitchens are running in the affected districts.
However, reports reaching here suggest that thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes after their villages were inundated, and have taken shelter on high places, including embankments, under the open sky, National Highways (NHs), school buildings and government buildings.
A water resource department official said: “The pressure on embankments has increased after the rise in water level of rivers in the past 48 hours.”
In view of the worsening flood situation, the state government has cancelled leaves of doctors and health department officials in flood-hit districts. The state disaster management department has asked people living in low lying areas to move to higher places as heavy rains continue.
The government has also launched massive relief and rescue operations with help from the local police as well as National Disaster Response Force and Bihar State Disaster Response Force teams. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked officials to speed up rescue and relief work after conducting an aerial survey of flood hit districts on Sunday.
After the monsoon arrived on time in Bihar this year, the state has received surplus rainfall so far .The weather department officials in Patna said the state received 745.2 millimetres of rainfall from June 1 to August 14, which is 19% above normal.
According to the WRD's website, Bihar is the most flood-affected state, accounting for close to 17.2% of the total flood-prone area in the country. Out of 94.16 lakh hectares, 68.80 lakh ha (76% of North Bihar and 73% of South Bihar) is flood-prone. At present, 28 out of 38 districts in the state are flood-prone.