Nearly one million people have been affected by floods in Bihar, where the Gandak river breached two embankments at three places, leaving several areas inundated, officials said on Friday. However, there was no report of loss of life or property in the deluge so far.
According to the state disaster management department's bulletin, a total of 9.60 lakh people have been affected by floodwaters in 529 panchayats of 74 blocks in 10 districts. The Gandak river breached the embankment in Devapur village in Barauli block of Saran district and Puraina village of Majha block in Gopalganj district this morning, while another breach took place on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday near Bhawanipur village of East Champaran district.
At least 50,000 people of 45 villages in Gopalganj district have been affected by the breach at two places, officials said. Bihar's Water Resources Minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, who conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas, following breach in the embankments, said there is no report of any loss of life due to the breach.
"It came as a complete surprise for us that breach has occurred at places which have not witnessed any breaches in the past. There is a strong current in the floodwater that has overtopped at several places and put pressure on embankments," Jha told reporters here. There has been a 35 to 40 meter wide breach at the affected sites in the two districts, he said, while stating that the state government has sought Indian Air Force's helicopter for distribution of food packets to people which is expected to arrive on Saturday.
The Gandak river turned turbulent, following discharge of 4,36,500 lakh cusecs of water from Valmikinagar barrage on July 21 due to heavy rainfall on July 19, 20 and 21 in the catchment area of Nepal. Due to a heavy downpour, 80,000 to 1,00,000 cusecs of water was discharged in the river, Jha said.
The Gandak river water has also overtopped National Highway 28 in Gopalganj due to the breaches, disrupting vehicular movement between Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and the districts of Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, West Champaran in Bihar. Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Areraj (in East Champaran), Dhirendra Mishra said thousands of people of seven villages of Sangrampur villages have been rescued in the night by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel.
NDRF 9th battalion Commandant Vijay Sinha, who monitored the rescue operations, said various teams were engaged in the rescue operations in both Gopalganj and East Champaran districts. The NDRF teams have so far evacuated around 3,200 people and 126 livestock to safer places, Sinha said, adding that they are taking medical teams to the affected places through its boat.
The NDRF rescuers are following safety measures and protocols to avoid getting infected by COVID-19 during the flood rescue operations, Sinha said and added that East Champaran District Magistrate Shirsat Kapil Ashok was also present on its rescue boat to personally monitor the entire operation. A total of 7.65 lakh people were affected by floodwaters in 426 panchayats of 64 blocks of 10 districts yesterday.
Thirteen teams of the NDRF and eight of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) are involved in the rescue operations as part of which 93,891 people have been evacuated from the marooned areas so far, it said, adding that 12,023 people are staying in 21 relief camps while nearly 1.15 lakh people were being fed at 271 community kitchens. The districts affected by the floods are West Champaran, East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Supaul, Kishanganj, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, and Khagaria.
Several rivers such as Baghmati, Burhi Gandak, Kamlabalan, Lalbakeya, Adhwara, Khiroi and Mahananda are flowing above the danger level while the Ganga river is flowing below the danger mark at all locations, including two places at Gandhighat and Digha ghat in Patna, it said.
The water resources department collects the report of the Ganga's water level from seven places, including Buxar, Bhagalpur, Munger, and two places in Patna. Meanwhile, train services between Darbhanga-Samastipur have been suspended since 7 am Friday due to floodwaters touching the girder bridge near Hayaghat in Darbhanga district, East Central Railway (ECR) CPRO Rajesh Kumar said.
The Indian Railways has decided to run Darbhanga-Delhi Bihar SamparkKranti Express via Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur or via Sitamarhi, Narkatiaganj in West Champaran district, sources said.