Devastating floods that have swept across large swathes of Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh claimed 57 more lives today, with Bihar alone accounting for 51 causalities. The figure of flood fatalities rose by three each in Assam and Uttar Pradesh. However, life in the deluge-ravaged areas of West Bengal slowly limped back to normalcy, with the water level of rivers receding.
The death toll in Bihar floods has crossed the 300 mark with 51 people losing their lives since yesterday. The flood toll stood at 253 till yesterday. 1.38 crore people are battling the deluge in 18 districts of the state. Around 7.34 lakh people have been shifted to safer areas. Close to 3.27 lakh people are putting up in 1,346 relief camps.
Araria district accounted for 71 deaths alone, Sitamarhi (34), West Champaran (29), Katihar (26), Madhubani (22), East Champaran (19), Darbhanga (19), Madhepura (15), Supual (13), Kisanganj (11), Gopalganj (9), Purnea (9) Muzaffarpur (7), Khagaria (6), Saran (6) and Saharsa (4), Sheohar (4). The overall situation in Uttar Pradesh is grim. Three more deaths have pushed the flood toll to 72, the state relief commissioner’s office said.
Over 20 lakh people have been hit by the current spell of floods in 24 districts of the state. 2,688 villages are under water. A flood report said 43,602 people have take shelter in relief camps in the affected districts of eastern UP, whipped by the raging waters of the rivers emanating from Nepal. Army choppers, NDRF and PAC (flood) jawans continued relief and rescue operations round-the-clock in the severely hit areas of the flood-affected districts of the state. The release of water in the rivers emanating from Nepal and incessant rains impeded rescue work and evacuation of people to safer areas.
Twenty-one companies of the NDRF, 30 of the PAC (flood), two choppers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and several columns of the Army were working day and night to save lives and properties in the affected areas. A Central Water Commission report said the Sharda was flowing above the red mark at Palia Kalan and near the danger mark at Shardanagar while the Ghaghra was flowing above the red mark at Elgin Bridge, Ayodhya and Turtipar (Ballia). Three more lives were lost in Assam floods while 12 districts continued to be affected.
Two persons drowned in Darrang and one in Kokrajhar of lower Assam, pushing the death toll in the second wave of floods in the state to 70, an Assam State Disaster Management Authority report said. Altogether 14.36 lakh people are bearing the brunt of the flooding in the 12 affected districts. Water is receding from human habitation and agricultural fields though over 76,000 hectares of farmland with standing crops is still inundated in the 12 districts, the report said. More than 46,000 people are putting up in 125 relief camps.
The floods have damaged embankments, roads and bridges in Dhemaji and Dhubri districts, the ASDMA said. The floodwaters have claimed the lives of 215 animals, including 13 rhinos and a Royal Bengal Tiger, at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, a senior forest official said. Due to the flooding, the animals at the UNESCO World Heritage Site are facing a food shortage within the park, compelling them to go to the nearby hills, tea gardens and even human habitations in search of food, KNP Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rohoni Ballav Saikia said.
Meanwhile, the situation in West Bengal improved further with the water level of rivers receding and no major rainfall recorded in the last 24 hours, an official of the Disaster Management department said. “Our officers are constantly monitoring the situation as people are returning home from relief camps. However, water is yet to recede in some parts as the Mahananda river is still flowing above the danger mark,” he said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said floods in West Bengal have claimed 152 lives so far and affected around 1.5 crore people. The state has suffered a loss of around Rs 14,000 crore due to the deluge, she said.
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