Patna, August 19: The flood situation remained grim in Bihar on Thursday, with most of the major rivers flowing above the danger mark and dozens of roads under knee deep water in flood-affected districts, disrupting traffic. However, the earlier rising water levels in the river Ganga are showing signs of declining in a few places, a matter of relief.
Large tracts of land continue to remain submerged due to flood water and there seems to be little chance of the water receding in the coming days with the (India Meteorological Department) IMD forecasting more rains for this week and later.
Local reports say that thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes after their villages were inundated; they have taken shelter on higher ground, including embankments, under the open sky, on national highways (NHs), school buildings and government buildings. Many flood victims are also unable to arrange cattle feed, including green grass, due to an acute shortage.
According to officials, the swelling rivers, including Ganga, Koshi, Bagmati and Burhi Gandak left hundreds of villages marooned, displacing thousands. Large tracts of standing Kharif crop has also been damaged. People continue to suffer sleepless nights with the danger of river erosion looming large. Hundreds of houses and acres of farmland have already been swallowed up by rivers in spate. With the flood water still entering newer areas, people continue to flee from villages and are taking shelter at safer places.
Bihar Disaster Management Department officials said that more than 35 lakh people in 16 districts have been affected by the floods. The most-affected districts include Madhubani, East Champaran, West Champaran, Supaul, Darbhanga, Saran, Bhojour, Patna, Samastipur, Vaishali, Katihar, Khagaria, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur.
As per the department's daily flood report, 2,589 villages under 99 blocks have been affected. Official data says that 1,23,188 people have been evacuated so far. About 64 flood relief camps and 753 community kitchens are running in the affected districts.
As per officials from the Water Resources Department, flood water is flowing on roads, including national and state highways, in east Champaran, Samastipur, Bhagalpur, Munger, Khagaria, Madhepura, Muzaffarpur and Katihar.
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.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said that state government will announce a flood relief package and will seek help from the Centre for it.
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. Weather officials in Patna said the state received 745.2 millimetres of rainfall from June 1 to August 14, which is 19% above the normal rainfall received.