No let-up in Bihar flood situation

PATNA: Heavy rain and release of water from the Kosi barrage have aggravated the situation in the flood-affected districts of north Bihar on Saturday, snapping road and rail links, putting marooned people to greater peril and throwing rescue operations out of gear.


The rains have triggered panic among the people of Madhepura in particular. At least two lakh cusecs of water was said to have been released from the barrage.


People are fleeing their homes fearing the worst. Adding to their woes is the suspension of rescue operations by the Army in some regions after one of their boats capsized killing 20 people, including an Army man, on Friday night.


The boat had gone to rescue marooned people in Murliganj block of Madhepura. More people jumped onto the boat than it could take.


Among those killed was a special executive magistrate. At least eight, it is believed, swam to safety.


The official death toll has risen to 90 but officials admit that the real dimension of the tragedy would be known only after the floodwaters recede.


Due to heavy rain, the flood waters are rising in Madhepura submerging railway tracks.


A bridge collapse has cut off links between Singheshwar and Madhepura.


Inadequate relief operations are compounding the miseries of the flood-hit. Just about 800 boats are operating, whereas 1.5 million people have been displaced.


The number of boats are less also because the State government had not paid the private boat owners their due last year.


Relief operation is limited to just three IAF helicopters and the dozen relief camps.