Battered by heavy rainfall for the third consecutive day, Bihar lost at least 25 lives to mishaps caused by the downpour that inundated streets, water-logged railway tracks and marooned business establishments.
The state capital continued to be among the worst affected, some of its parts submerged in water levels rising up to the chest and its residents being rescued with the help of municipal cranes normally used for moving earth.
“It is natures fury before which man is often helpless. We are, however, trying our best. The problem is, we have no idea how long the downpour which caps a prolonged dry spell causing a drought-like situation is going to last.
“Even the weather department seems clueless, making different predictions at different points of time,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters.
He was speaking after holding a meeting with top officials, including those of the disaster management department, where he also interacted with officials in the other districts through video conferencing.
The cranes of Patna Nagar Nigam turned saviours as these were used to pick up people stranded in places rendered inaccessible through normal modes of transport many of them girls and boys from far-off districts, who come here for studies and put up at hostels.
Business has been hit badly as even drug stores were forced to keep the shutters down for fear of the stocks getting damaged and even swept away by gush of water.
The incessant rainfall also led to wall/roof collapse incidents in three different localities of Bhagalpur district claiming a total of eight lives, including a woman.
Three casualties each were reported from Barari and Khanjarpur and two from Nathnagar localities.
In Danapur, on the outskirts of Patna, a tree fell on an auto-rickshaw crushing to death four of its occupants including a one and a half year-old girl.
Three more deaths were reported from Bhabhua, the district headquarters of Kaimur, on account of the collapse of two mud houses in separate localities.
In Khagaria, three persons were drowned. A 32-year-old man was swept away by strong current in the river Ganges which locals attributed to the torrential rainfall. Besides two girls, cousins and aged five and eight years, drowned as they slipped into a deep pit while frolicking around in water-logged streets.
In addition, five persons were swept away by strong currents in a river in Nawada. However, two of them a married couple swam to safety.
The remaining three were yet to be traced though the district administration said it was “not counting them as dead” in view of the possibility that they may be rescued by teams of NDRF and SDRF.
The East Central Railway, headquartered in Hajipur and covering most parts of the state, said many trains have been cancelled, short-terminated or diverted on account of heavy water-logging over railway tracks and, in some places, damage caused to bridges.
Air traffic has also been affected as GoAir announced on Twitter that it has diverted its flights from Mumbai to Lucknow and those from Delhi to Varanasi.
The air carrier, along with IndiGo, issued advisories to passengers from the city to leave for the airport well in advance, apprehending traffic snarls.
SpiceJet also urged passengers to keep a check on flight status since movement of flights could get affected due to bad weather in Patna.