| Villagers wade through a flooded road. Telegraph picture |
There was no further rise in river water levels, but devastation and the flood toll continued to mount.
Twenty-nine more deaths were reported from various flood-hit districts of Bihar on Monday taking the death toll to 55. As flood continued to wreck havoc for the tenth consecutive day on Monday, the number of people affected because of inundation touched 18.3 lakh.
“The death toll has risen to 55, with 29 more people losing their lives because of the flood. Nalanda is the worst hit. Thirty-eight people have lost their lives and eight lakh others have been affected. However, we are trying our best to provide all necessary items to the affected people. Till now, 1,143 quintals of grains, including wheat and rice, have been distributed among the flood-hit people,” said Anirudh Kumar, special secretary, disaster management department (DMD).
Ready-made food like beaten rice and gram flour (sattu) was being distributed in the affected areas, he said.
The department has announced that as many as 17 districts are in the grip of flood. Some 1,427 villages and three lakh hectares of agricultural land have been hit.
The disaster management department is running 97 relief camps to provide food and shelter to 33,307 rescued and displaced persons. The number of people staying at the camps is decreasing as many have left to return to their relative places or to look for alternatives.
The department evacuated 29,672 people on Monday, moving them to safer locations. Around 799 villages are surrounded by water now. Twelve teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and four teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed for relief and rescue operations.
The department has also provided 1,388 boats for relief work in 17 affected districts.
Officials of the Central Water Commission (CWC) said all major rivers like the Ganga, Sone, Punpun, Ghaghra, Gandak, Burhigandak, Bagmati, Adhwara and Kamlabalan, Kosi and Mahananda were showing a steady trend till 6 am on Monday.
But the Ganga and Bagmati were flowing above the danger mark by 8cm at Kahalgaon, 60cm at Sahebganj and 80cm at Farrakka. Similarly Bagmati was flowing 49cm above the danger mark at Benibad and 27cm above at Hayaghat.
Meanwhile, the water resources department has issued a high alert to all its engineers asking them to carry out intensive patrolling and keep a close eye on river embankments to check any kind of breach.
“Keeping in mind the changing water levels in rivers and the flood situation in the state, we have asked our engineers to be on high alert round the clock next month. We have also asked them to conduct patrolling on all the river embankments,” said water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary.
Water resources department secretary Dipak Kumar Singh said work is going on in full swing to repair damaged embankments.
According to the disaster management department’s list, the flood-affected districts are Nalanda, Saharsa, Supaul, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Patna, West Champaran, Sheohar, Araria, Sheikhpura, Khagaria, Gopalganj, Purnia Madhepura and Bhagalpur.