A man and a boy use a boat on Thursday to ferry themselves in flooded Gopalpur village of Malda's Manikchak. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Aug. 22: A 30-metre stretch of an earthen embankment was breached by the Ganga in Gopalpur gram panchayat in Manikchak, near here today affecting at least 12,000 people in 15 villages.
The embankment was breached around 4am today.
Malda district magistrate, G. Kiran Kumar, the executive engineer of the irrigation department, Amaresh Kumar Singh, and other officials went to the spot, around 38km from here, at 10am today to assess the damage.
Heavy rainfall for the past few days had already flooded parts of Manikchak, Harishchandrapur and Ratua blocks of the district.
According to the irrigation engineers, the Ganga was flowing at a level of 25.55 metres, 9cm above the extreme danger level.
The extreme danger level is 25.46.
The district magistrate said efforts were on to provide relief to the affected villagers.
“About 30 metres of the earthen embankment was breached by the Ganga around 4am today and water is flooding a vast area,” he said.
“We are trying to provide shelter to the affected at the Gopalpur High School and many have taken shelter on the existing portion of the embankment along with their livestock. We are arranging for the distribution of flattened rice and jaggery for the people,” he added.
Abdul Selim, a 50-year-old farmer of Kamlatipur, one of the first villages to be inundated, said he was taken unawares by the incident.
“It was early in the morning and I was engrossed in namaz, when suddenly I heard the sound of roaring water from the embankment that girds our village. I immediately raised an alarm and we fled and took shelter on another part of the embankment. In hours our huts were almost under water. All our belongings, including the stored rice and wheat have been spoilt,” he said.
According to the executive engineer of the irrigation department, Amarendra Kumar Singh, heavy rainfall in Bihar has caused the Ganga to flow above the extreme danger level.
“The Ganga is flowing at 25.55 metres, nine centimetres above the extreme danger level because of heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours in Bihar. This has caused the water level to rise,” Singh said.
“We are waiting for the water to recede so that we can carry out repairs in the breached embankment. However, I see no possibility of the waters of the Ganga receding in the next three days,” he added.