Rains hamper rescue in flooded Bihar, situation worsens

August 29th, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Saharsa (Bihar), Aug 29 (IANS) Heavy rains disrupted rescue and relief operations in flood-ravaged Bihar for the second consecutive day Friday, adding to the misery of hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down by the turbulent waters of the Kosi river. Due to bad weather, the situation is worsening in the five worst affected districts of Madhepura, Saharsa, Supaul, Araria and Katihar, say officials.

“Heavy rains lashed Madhepura Thursday night and light showers continue. It signals that the situation is worsening,” said Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Madhepura and ward counsellor who shifted his family of seven to a safer place three days ago.

It has been over 10 days since the Kosi changed its course after almost two centuries, sweeping over large swathes of the state. Last week, the river swelled following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal.

Officially 12 people have died in the floods but the unofficial toll is a much higher 57. The floods have affected over two million people in 14 Bihar districts. Around 150,000 people have been evacuated so far.

Bihar Disaster Management Minister Nitish Mishra told IANS: “Heavy rains are bound to increase the miseries of thousands who have taken shelter under roof tops, railway tracks, canal embankments and elevated roads.

“Bad weather has also affected airdropping of relief material, including food packets, in the last two days.

“Helicopters will drop relief material when the weather improves,” Mishra, who is camping in Araria, told IANS.

Purnea district was made the base for helicopters, but none was able to take off Friday till afternoon due to the weather.

A district official in Saharsa, 225 km from Patna, said: “Rescue and relief has still not reached thousands of marooned people.”

Five of 10 village blocks in Saharsa and Supaul are flooded while 10 of 12 blocks are inundated in Madhepura.

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