Floods in Bihar: State submerged in flood waters

Village under threat from erosion in Kishanganj (Source: India Water Portal Hindi)
Village under threat from erosion in Kishanganj (Source: India Water Portal Hindi)

The rains have stopped in Bihar, in the last few days, but despite this, the water level of the rivers continues to rise. According to information received by the Disaster Management Department, the water level of Budhi Gandak is rising in Khagaria, Samastipur and Muzaffarpur's Sikanderpur gauge station. Likewise, the water level of the Kamla Balan river in Jhanjharpur and Jayanagar of Madhubani and the Ghaghra river at Darauli in Siwan are flowing above the danger mark.

Similarly, the Khiroi river is flowing 0.72 meters above the danger mark in Kamatoul of Darbhanga and its water level is continuously rising. The Mahananda river at Dhanraghat in Purnia and Bagmati river at Dubbadhar in Sitamarhi are also flowing above the danger mark. The Adhwara river at Sundarpur and Pupri Gauge stations in Sitamarhi is flowing one to two meters above the danger mark and according to local administration its water level is further increasing.

However, the Ganga river in various gauge stations has not yet reached above the danger mark, but its water level is observed increasing. An official from the Water Resources Department said,

"Rise in water level of the Ganga river is being recorded at Digha and Hathidah in Patna and Bhagalpur and Kahalgaon gauge stations in Munger, Bhagalpur."

According to the Weather Bulletin issued by the Indian Meteorological Department, there may be rain in several districts of Bihar towards the end of July. This may further increase the water level of rivers already flowing above the danger mark. However, as per the State Water Resources Minister Sanjay Jha, the engineers of the department are constantly monitoring the embankments.

New areas submerged in flood waters

Flood waters had entered half a dozen blocks of Bhagalpur, but now water has started descending from here. These blocks are located in low-lying areas. Along with this, the flood water has also inundated villages of Ghanshyampur block. Circle officer Dinanath Kumar said that water is now descending from flood affected areas and medical teams were sent to the affected villages to investigate about the people. According to him, 20 boats have been sent to the affected areas.

Apart from Ghanshyampur, water has also flooded the villages of Kusheshwar place, Kiratpur, Hanumannagar blocks along with many other villages, but now the situation is improving there. District officials said that a total of 89 boats have been deployed in the district.

Several villages of the Beldore block of Khagaria have been hit by floods due to the increase in water level in the Kosi river. Erosion is also occurring rapidly in some villages, causing people to panic.

Naval Kishore, Executive Engineer, Small Irrigation Department, Khagaria told India Water Portal,

"There are reports of erosion from some areas and the water level of the rivers is also increasing, but this happens every year."

No government help

Flood waters have spread in several villages of Katihar block and due to a culvert being damaged, people are facing difficulty in the movement at many places. It's been a week that the flood waters have inundated four villages of Janglatal Panchayat in Amdabad block of Katihar, but no government-aid has reached the people.

The head of the panchayat, Sanfali Khatun, told India Water Portal,

“Mahananda water has inundated the villages for a week. About 750 families live in this panchayat, but relief material is not yet reached. Those who have pucca houses are staying on the roofs and those who have mud houses have taken shelter on the embankment."

He added that we have given information to CO and BDO, but relief materials have not been provided yet.

Many villages of the Alamnagar block of Madhepura have been under floods for a week. It is being informed that the flood fury is on the rise in the eight panchayats of the block at present. After the flood waters entered some of the tolls of Khapur Panchayat, people took refuge in the flood relief center, but there is no provision for food and drinking water at the centre.

Thousands of families are at risk of displacement due to the flood waters entering Alamnagar Dakshin Panchayat of Alamnagar block. Subodh Rishidev, the head of the panchayat, told India Water Portal, "Flood waters have entered the courtyard of many houses and if the water level continues to rise like this, then water will enter all the houses in two-three days."

The paddy crop has been completely destroyed by the floods.

“About one thousand acres of paddy crop is planted in this panchayat. The entire crop has been ruined by the floods”, the chief said.

People moving to safe places by boat

Several villages in the Murliganj block of the district are also under the threat of flooding.

No availability of boats

Many villages of Supaul are flooded causing worry to the locals. Water has inundated half a dozen wards of Ganora Panchayat of Marouna block. Kapleshwar Prasad Yadav, the Mukhiya told India Water Portal,

“Although the water level is decreasing now, but if it rises, the difficulties will increase. Despite flooding in half a dozen wards, not a single boat has been provided by the government to evacuate people to safer places in case of an emergency. ”

Flood waters have also entered the villages of Benipatti, Khajouli and other blocks in Madhubani district, posing trouble to the people. Similarly, the villages of Katra, Aurai and Sahebganj blocks of Muzaffarpur, are partially affected by the floods.

In Tola Deori village of Dedhagach block of Kishanganj, river erosion has washed away nine tribal houses. Moreover, due to the breach in the Dudhaura river embankment in Raxaul, there is a danger of water entering Narkatiya, Visunpurwa and other villages .

Girija Kunwar, the head of Narkatiya Panchayat told India Water Portal,

“The embankment breached two days ago, which led to flood waters reaching close to the village. However, the situation is still under control because the water level is receding.”

Dudhura river comes from Nepal and two more rivers merge along the way. Girija further added,

“If the water level rises, flood water will enter the houses. People are still in panic. Circle officer has been informed of the incident, but the embankment is yet to be repaired.”

India Water Portal tried to contact the Block Development Officer telephonically, but could not get through due to technical problems.

Repairing of embankments through nylon crates, sheet piles, boulders

State Water Resources Department Minister Sanjay Jha has said that following the breach of embankments during floods, necessary items have been brought from outside for immediate repair.

He informed, "We have ordered two crore EC bags, 10 million live bags, nine lakh nylon crates, 2.5 lakh PP rope gabions, 26000 GI wire crates, 66000 cubic meter boulders, 3000 metric tons of sheet piles and 70 thousand eucalypts bat."

It was a difficult task to procure all these items from other states during the lockdown, however, the secretary of the department played a significant role in obtaining all these goods from closed factories of Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi, UP, Gujarat and Bengal.

Your cooperation

In case you notice any cracks or other problems in the embankments in your area, then call the helpline number 18003456145 and share the information immediately.

You can also report on Twitter by tagging #HelloWRD, @WRD_Bihar (Department of Water Resources). On obtaining the information, the department will immediately inform the officials of the concerned area and prompt action will be taken.

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You can read the article in Hindi here. Authored by Umesh Kumar Ray; Translation to English by Swati Bansal

Post By: Swati Bansal