Bihar Floods: Death Toll Rises to 33, Over 25 Lakh People Affected
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said floods normally struck north Bihar in August or, sometimes, in September, but this time they came a month earlier primarily because of unusually heavy rainfall in the Terai region of neighbouring Nepal.
Villagers relocate to a safer place from the flooded area, in Motihari block under East Champaran district of Bihar on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
Patna: Flash floods in Bihar triggered by unusual torrential rainfall in Nepal have claimed 33 lives in the state till Tuesday evening and affected more than 25 lakh people in at least 12 districts, officials said.
According to the state's Disaster Management authority, the maximum number of 11 casualties have been reported from Sitamarhi district where 12 lakh people have been hit by the deluge.
The East Central Railway zone, headquartered in the district's Hajipur, said movement of trains has been suspended on Kamtaul-Jogiyara section in view of inundation of a rail bridge.
The second worst-affected district was Araria, where 8.86 lakh people have been affected by the floods which has killed nine.
News channels aired footage of a bride being sent off from her parents' house on a huge plastic drum. District officials responded to the report saying the number of boats available was not sufficient to meet the needs arising from a calamity of this scale.
In Sheohar, five girls aged between 10 and 15 years were killed after being swept away by a gush of water while taking bath in a canal at their village in Tariyani sub-division of the district, officials said. Another girl was injured.
Authorities stated that the total number of casualties so far in the district is seven while 80,000 people are affected.
Four deaths from Kishanganj and two from Supaul have also been reported.
Seven other districts hit by the deluge are East Champaran, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Katihar and Purnea, but no casualty has been reported from there so far.
An NDRF release said a 30-year-old pregnant woman was carried from her home in Jhanjharpur sub-division to a hospital in Madhubani district by its personnel through inundated roads. The woman gave birth to a child in the hospital and they were taken back to their residence safely.
The Darbhanga district administration said it has suspended two teachers of a government secondary schools for their failure to carry out relief and rehabilitation work.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told the Assembly that officials have been instructed to ensure that ex gratia reach the kin of those killed in the floods within 24 hours of their loss.
Adequate funds will be made available for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people, he said, adding, "It has been our stated principle that those affected by calamities have the first claim to the government's coffers."
The chief minister said floods normally struck north Bihar in August or, sometimes, in September, but this time they came a month earlier primarily because of unusually heavy rainfall in the Terai region of neighbouring Nepal.
For the last three-four days, the Terai region of Nepal has been lashed by rainfalls ranging between 280-300 mm which was many times higher than the 50 mm which is considered normal for the area during this time of the year.
As a result, several rivers in Bihar like Kosi, Bagmati and Mahananda have been in spate, the chief minister said in the House.
He also asserted that rescue work was being carried out in right earnest and about 1.25 lakh people have been taken to safer places from the flood-ravaged areas.
As many as 199 relief camps have been set up so far, where 1.11 lakh people have taken shelter and they were being fed through nearly 700 community kitchens, Kumar said and assured the House that more relief camps and community kitchens will be set up if such a need arises.
Good quality of food and drinking water is being ensured and so is availability of bleaching powder and chlorine tablets, ORS and anti-diarrhea drugs, he said.
The chief minister also conducted an aerial survey of the vulnerable embankments situated in districts along the India-Nepal border.
Upon his return, he held a meeting with the officials to review the flood situation and instructed them to spruce up the relief operations and ensure expeditious payment of ex gratia and other financial assistance to those affected by the calamity.
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