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Flood Threatens Thousands in Bihar After Poor Monsoon

Hundreds of villages could be flooded as rising rivers have inundated many low-lying areas.
Bihar: Ahead of Monsoon, Fearing River Erosion, Villagers Begin Abandoning Villages

Patna: After the poor monsoon in June-July badly hit distressed paddy farmers in Bihar, floods threaten thousands in the northern and eastern part of the state following heavy rains in the catchment area of major rivers and in neighbouring Nepal in the last few days. 

Though moderate-to-heavy rains since Sunday have given much hope to paddy farmers, rivers like Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Bhutahi Balan and Lalbakiya are above the danger mark at several places. Besides, Ganga, Gandak, Koshi, Mahananda, Kankai and Adhwara are flowing near the danger mark at several places.

Rising rivers have inundated many low-lying areas near banks, threatening hundreds of villages. The local administration has sounded an alert and appealed to people living in low-lying areas near rivers to shift to elevated places.

“The heavy rainfall led to the sudden rise in the level of rivers, resulting in a flood-like situation in some pockets in East Champaran, Bagaha (West Champaran), Bhagalpur, Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj, Katihar, Saharsa, Sheohar and Supaul districts,” an official of disaster management department (DMD) told Newsclick.

According to the DMD, floodwater entered dozens of villages and spread to new areas. Several roads, including state highways, are flooded up to two to three feet. 

After heavy rainfall in the last 48 hours, several areas of Purnea were waterlogged, including the emergency and regional vaccination centre of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Tuesday night. Many patients, including women and children, are facing a tough time coping with it.

“Vaccines and costly machines were damaged after water entered the vaccination centre,” district immunisation officer Dr Vinay Mohan said.

In Motihari, the district magistrate, superintendent of police and other officers have inspected river embankments and arrangements made for floods.

According to officials of Water Resources Department (WRD), 2.92 lakh cusecs were released from the Valmiki Gandak barrage into Gandak River early Wednesday. WRD officials said water discharge from the barrage has increased and decreased in the past 24 hours depending on rains in catchment areas. The water level will likely increase in the coming days because of the increased levels of Gandak and Koshi.

“Field officials have been directed to watch the water level and the barrages closely,” Shailendar, the chief engineer of flood control and water drainage at WRD, told reporters in Patna on Wednesday.

The fear of floods has forced hundreds to flee their homes and shift to higher places since Tuesday, and more people are likely to be displaced as floodwater inundates one village after another. 

The India Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rainfall across Bihar for the next 24 hours. 

Bihar received a rainfall of 343.4 mm from June 1 to August 8, 39% less than the average rainfall of 566.6. Till last week, the rainfall deficit was more than 45%-46 %. 

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