Gandak recedes in Bihar, but thousands still marooned


Patna : The grave flood situation in Bihar was marginally dented Wednesday as the water level of the Gandak river receded somewhat. However, thousands of people are still affected by the deluge.

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An official of the water resource department said the Gandak river water was receding. “It is a positive sign. The situation has improved,” he said.

The Gandak overflowed after Nepal released over two lakh cusecs of water into the river, following heavy rains in the Himalayan republic. The river’s main embankment was breached last week and more breaches occurred Sunday.

The overflowing Gandak waters affected thousands of people in Gopalganj, Saran and Siwan districts. It destroyed standing paddy, sugar and maize crops in hundreds of hectares and forced people to flee their homes in low-lying areas.

The disaster management department’s principal secretary Sri Vyasji told IANS here that the water level was receding and the situation was not as alarming as it was Monday.

“The government was trying hard to reach out to the affected people,” he said.

Nearly one lakh people were displaced in the current wave of flooding that began a week back. But no casualty has been reported so far.

Thousands of people are staying on embankments and hundreds in five mega relief camps set up by the government Tuesday. Others are staying on roofs of their houses, atop government buildings and schools as their villages were still under water.

A district official said the displaced people would be able to return to their homes in the next couple of days only if the river water level does not rise.

People complained about the lack of supplies of food and other essential items in Gopalganj.

Rescue and relief operations have been intensified. A team of the National Disaster Response Force has been rushed with motor boats to help those trapped in flood waters, the official said.

In 2008, more than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the river Kosi breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed its course.