Floods continued to wreak havoc in Bihar and Assam, with around 1.15 crore people continuing to reel under the deluge in the two states where the death toll reached 139 on Friday.
The toll in Bihar climbed to 92 with 14 more casualties reported since Thursday, while in Assam 11 more people died on Friday taking the toll in the northeastern state to 47.
In Bihar, 66.76 lakh people from 12 districts of the state have been hit by the calamity while in Assam 48.87 lakh people were affected in 27 of its 33 districts.
According to Bihar’s state disaster management department, the death toll which stood at 78 on Thursday included 27 casualties in Sitamarhi, the district worst affected by the flash floods which hit the state in the wake of torrential rains in Nepal’s Terai region last week.
A significant number of casualties have also been reported from Araria, Madhubani, Purnea, Sheohar and Darbhanga districts.
Relief and rehabilitation work continued in full swing with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar kicking off a programme under the Public Financial Management System for providing aid to flood victims. Under the programme, Rs 181.39 crore were transferred directly into the bank accounts of members of 3.02 lakh affected families in the initial phase.
In Assam, 1.79 lakh hectare of agricultural land has been inundated and around 90 per cent of rhinoceros habitats – the Kaziranga National Park and the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary – are underwater.
Of the fresh 11 deaths in the state, five were reported from Dhubri district and three each from Barpeta and Morigaon, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said, adding 48,87,443 people in 3,705 villages are reeling under the impact of the flood.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took stock of the flood situation in his home constituency Majuli island during the day and also inspected Geo Bag erosion prevention work at Dakhinpat Kumargaon.
He also visited the number 4 embankment at Opholamukh damaged by this year’s flood and directed the Brahmaputra Board and Water Resource officials to complete the
erosion prevention works on a war footing.
Sonowal told reporters that there is no paucity of funds for flood management and those have been released to all districts in advance this year.
The central government has been cooperating with the state in fighting floods, he told media persons and informed them about the construction of highlands in the Kaziranga National Park which has provided succour to the animals there during this year’s flood.
Nineteen teams of National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in flood-affected districts of north Bihar, NDRF’s 9 Battalion Commandant said in a statement.
He further said that till now NDRF personnel have evacuated more than 4,500 people from far-flung villages of flood-affected Araria, Katihar, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Supaul, Muzaffarpur and Motihari districts.
NDRF rescuers are also assisting the civil administration in the distribution of relief materials and civil medical teams in reaching the remote area by boats.