|A marooned family takes shelter on a bamboo platform at a village in Sangrampur block in Motihari and residents of Harni village in Aurai block in Muzaffarpur move to a safer location on a boat. Pictures by Ajit Kumar Verma and Lokesh Bihari
Heavy downpour in the past few days has worsened the flood situation in Bihar with water level of six rivers going above the danger line, breaching embankments in two districts.
A state disaster management official on Sunday said nine districts have been affected, claiming two lives in Saharsa district.
Anirudh Kumar, the special secretary, disaster management department, said: “A flood-like situation has arisen because of heavy rain and it has affected 3.94 lakh people in nine districts (Patna, Saharsa, Supaul, West Champaran, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and Nalanda). With the help of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) 37,461 people have been evacuated.”¯
Around 491 villages have been affected in which 722 houses have been damaged. To evacuate people, 487 boats have been put in service and people are being offered jaggery and bittern rice in the relief camps. The Belchi block of Patna has been badly affected because of the flood.
Anirudh added: “In view of the grim situation, eight teams of NDRF and four teams of SDRF have been deployed in the flood-affected districts. The disaster management department has put 3,171 people in 75 relief camps and others have been advised to move to higher altitude.”¯
According to an official with the central water commission, Bagmati, Gandak, Kamla Balan, Ganga, Adhwara and Mahadnanda, are all flowing above the danger mark. There have been embankment breach in Darbhanga’s Ghanshyampur block and Bagha in West Champaran.
Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and principal secretary disaster management department Vyasji made an aerial survey of Patna and Nalanda districts. Anjani directed officials to provide adequate food material in the flood-affected districts and deployment of NDRF and SDRF teams for the relief operation.
The rising water level has also alarmed the authorities, which forced them to release water from the three barrages. The water was released to make way for the huge quantity of water accumulated at the barrages. Gandak barrage released 1.92 lakh cusec, Kosi 2.31 lakh cusec and Sone barrage released 14,060 cusec.
“Our engineers are camping at the locations where the rivers have gone above the danger line. We have asked them to keep a close eye on the flow. Protection of embankment is also a priority now,” said water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary.