| Vaishali Express makes its way through the inundated tracks in Muzaffarpur on Sunday. Picture by Gopi Raman |
Incessant downpour over the past 48 hours has washed away over 3,000 houses and displaced thousands of families at various blocks in Muzaffarpur and other districts of north Bihar.
The Bagmati, considered one of the most turbulent rivers in this part of the state, has crossed the danger mark in Katonjha causeway in Muzaffarpur. It is flowing as high as 8ft at the Katonjha causeway on Muzaffarpur-Sitamarhi road.
More than 3,000 houses at villages in Aurai and Katra blocks have been submerged by the swelling Bagmati. Nearly 25 thatched houses have been washed away by the river at Chainpur in Aurai block. Thousands have started fleeing the villages, fearing that the floodwaters would wash away their houses.
Some of those who could not flee have taken shelter atop the roofs of houses, while others have shifted to schools, panchayat buildings and primary health centres across the district.
Around 25 and 10 panchayats in Katra and Gaighat blocks have been severely affected. Surface communication between the villages and block headquarters has been snapped, while several trains passing through the district are were running late.
“We are staying in inhuman conditions since Saturday. There is no one to take care of us,” Nageshwar Sahni, a resident of Harni Tola village, said.
Muzaffarpur district magistrate Santosh Kumar Mall has asked the people of Bochahan and Mushahri blocks, situated along the Budhi Gandak, to shift to higher ground.
Circle officer of Aurai block Rajiv Ranjan Singh said 20 boats have been pressed into service. “Relief distribution work will begin in a day or two,” he said.
Weather scientists said the position of monsoon trough line close to the foothills of the Himalayas cause the prevailing weather condition. “The north-western part of the district is likely to receive heavy rainfall in the next two to three days, after which the current spell would subside,” said Abdus Sattar, an assistant professor of meteorology, Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Samastipur.
The state disaster management department said the district administration was looking after the relief measures. “According to the guidelines of the Centre and the state government, authorities in the districts are supposed to take decisions on steps to be taken to provide the victims with relief materials. The disaster management department has to provide funds to the local authorities in case of relief measures,” said Sunil Kumar, special secretary, disaster management department.