| Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi surveys the flood-hit areas with water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary on Friday |
Patna, Aug. 22: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected districts Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura for the first time since the state began grappling with flood seven days ago.
Manjhi said he tried to speak to Union home minister Rajnath Singh to brief him about the flood situation in the state but the latter was not available. “I tried to contact the home minister today. I wanted to brief him about the situation but he, too, went on an aerial survey. I have all reports and will try talking to him later,” Manjhi said in Patna after the aerial survey.
He did not rule out the situation worsening if there was heavy rain in the catchment areas of rivers emerging from Nepal. “People are scared the situation could go from bad to worse as the possibility of flood remains till October and if there is rain heavy in Nepal, one cannot rule it out.”
He instructed water resourse department officials to keep an eye on embankments across the state and warned strict action against anybody found not performing duty.
Chief minister also held a high level review meeting with Kosi division officials on relief work being carried out there and asked them to intensify the operation. He claimed damage to life and property in the region was negligible.
But soon after his aerial survey, the situation got worse as 50m cracks appeared on the left embankment of the Bagmati River at Shruti block in Sitamarhi district.
A senior official of water resources department said: “There is a 50m breach and 200 cusec of water is flowing from it every hour. However, engineers have reached the spot to repair the breach and the nearby villagers have been asked to to a safe location.”
This is the fourth case of embankment breach after similar ones at Ghanshyampur block in Darbghanga district, Bagha block in West Champaran district and Hasanpur Dumaria embankment in Gopalganj.
Talking about flood condition in the state, Anirudh Kumar, special secretary, disaster management, said: “The death toll remains same. No new deaths have been reported from any of the flood-affected districts. The total number of people affected by the flood has risen to 16.48 lakh and 11 more villages have come in the grip of flood.”
He also said the number of relief camps had risen from 133 to 142 as the number of affected people is increasing by the day.
Central water commission (CWC) officials said five major rivers — namely the Kamla Balan, Burhi Gandak, Bagmati, Ganga, Adhwara and Khiroi — are flowing above the danger mark.
The department of hydrology and meteorology in Nepal has forecast heavy rainfall, as high as 113mm, in the catchment areas of the Kosi river at Dharan Bazaar on Saturday.