Floods ravage Bihar and northeast states, snap rail link

RSTV Bureau

Heavy rains in the last three days have triggered flash floods in parts of Bihar, where 41 people have died so far and more than 65.37 lakh people have been affected. The floods have also inundated large areas in Assam and north Bengal, paralysing normal life and snapping the rail link to the northeast.

People walk towards a Kailash Mansarovar road after a cloud burst  at Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand

People walk towards a Kailash Mansarovar road after a cloud burst at Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, two separate incidents of cloudbursts claimed lives of six people. Ten people including six army personnel have gone missing in the area.

The flood situation in Assam turned very critical with more than 32 lakh people being affected in 25 districts. Three more persons lost their lives, taking the toll in the second wave of deluge in the state to 18.

In Arunachal Pradesh too, the flood situation continued to be grim in several districts with recurring landslides disrupting road traffic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the chief ministers of Bihar (Nitish Kumar) and Assam (Sarbananda Sonowal) and assured them of all support from the Centre.

Floods-Pithorgharh-3Separate teams of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were pressed into service in different flood-affected districts of Bihar.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar did an aerial survey of the worst-hit districts of Kishanganj, Purnia, Katihar and Araria on Monday.

“Heavy rainfall in Nepal over the last few days has made rivers in Bihar, particularly Gandak, Mahananda, Kankai and Kosi, wreak havoc in different districts bordering the Himalayan kingdom,” said Nitish after winding up his visit.

Nitish, who earlier spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, expressed satisfaction over the Centre’s timely assistance.

Flood in Bihar's West Champaran

Flood in Bihar’s West Champaran

At least 17 trains, including the New Delhi-Guwahati Rajdhani Express, were cancelled after flood water submerged railway tracks at Kishanganj station.

On Monday, IAF choppers were used to distribute food packets among the flood-hit who were brought to relief camps or remained stranded on roads, particularly NH 31.

According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the toll in this year’s flood-related incidents in the state climbed to 102. Till Sunday, 22.5 lakh people were hit by the latest wave of flood across 21 districts.

Dhubri is the worst affected with 7.79 lakh people affected by the deluge, followed by Morigaon where 3.83 lakh people have been hit.

Currently, the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns.

The second wave of flood in Assam have submerged rhino habitats in Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, forcing the animals to take shelter on highlands.

According to an official, over 85% of the 430 sq km Kaziranga National Park is inundated.

Patna-Floods-BiharThough the incessant downpour eased a little on Monday in north Bengal, two persons died after a mud wall collapsed in Gangarampur area.

Train services to the Northeast from the rest of the country, which passes through a vast stretch of north Bengal, have been suspended until Wednesday because of waterlogging on railway tracks in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.

North Bengal-bound trains and buses from Kolkata have also been suspended due to inundated tracks and water logging on major thoroughfares, including National Highways 31, 31D, 55 and 512.