States from eastern India are quite prone to floods and they are nothing short of an annual occurrence in states like Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Odisha. This year, while the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the whole country, states like Assam and Bihar are faced with the additional challenge posed by annual floods.
Incessant rains have led to swelling up of rivers in both these states and as the situation continues to worsen in Assam, Bihar too is beginning to witness excessive flood related damages. Incessant rains in various districts of Bihar accompanied by the discharge of excessive barrage water into the Koshi and the Gandak rivers of the state has all contributed to high flood damage risk in the state.
Heavy rains have been witnessed not only in Bihar but also in neighbouring Nepal, where flood of catchment areas of various rivers over the last couple of days has only amplified the extent of the problem. The worst affected are the villages of northern Bihar where hundreds of homes are now completely submerged in the water and roads, highways, buildings and houses especially in the low-lying areas of north Bihar have been severely damaged due to the floods.
A high alert has been issued to make sure that people are brought to safer locations from the low-lying areas and officials and disaster management committees are ready for all kinds of required relief work. Thousands of people in the most affected parts have also voluntarily left their homes with the fear that in the coming days the rains could reck more havoc in the state and cause more damage.
The waters in many of Bihar’s rivers began to rise when excessive water was released into them from the barrages and the water is reaching extremely dangerous levels in many parts of the state, this has led to exertion of immense pressure on river embankments.
The water levels in the rivers of Bihar had risen dramatically after extreme water flow from Birpur barrage in Nepal was recorded on July 21. Looking at the dangers posed by the floods, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has asked the Disaster Management Department to be on high alert because there are predictions for heavy rainfall in the coming weeks too. The Disaster Management Department of the state has said that more than 3.5 lakh people have been affected by the floods in the state so far and the number of affected people will only increase everyday. The worst affected states are Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur,Sitamarhi, Sheohar,Supaul, Darbhanga, Kishanganj and East Chaparan, Madhepura, Katihar, Khagaria, Madhubani, Purnea, Araria and Bhagalpur.
The flood situation in Bihar is worsening by the hour and many big and small rivers of the state such as Kosshi, Gandak, Mahananda, Bhuthu Balan, Bagmati are showing dangerous increase in their water levels.
The flood situation in Bihar this year is a far greater concern than it has been in the past because of flood measures that couldn’t be completed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The lack of adequate preparedness and the delay in precautionary measures against the floods couldn’t be up to the mark due to the lockdown and the pandemic, but this lapse may cost the state dearly.
It is possible that due to lack of preparedness and abnormal changes in the course of rivers, lack of adequate work for embankments and lapses in relief work, the flood situation can worsen in Bihar.