Bihar floods leave 170 dead

With 20 districts in Bihar reeling under weeklong floods and the death toll reaching 170 amid reports that an estimated 55 lakh people have been affected statewide, protests against insufficient rescue and relief provisions began at several places on Wednesday even as the government sought help from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
Hundreds of flood-affected villagers in Begusarai district gheraoed the local government offices and staged road blockades demanding immediate provision of relief material to help avert starvation staring at scores of villages on the banks of a swollen Ganga. Many villagers also demanded adequate supply of boats for safe evacuation of those trapped in swirling flood waters.
Thousands of people who fled their homes in Khagaria district after an embankment of the Ganga breached and the river’s water entered many villages in the wee hours of Tuesday were took shelter on NH 31 and other high ground. Efforts were on by government engineers and workers to patch the 10-metre breach, said officials. Along with Bhagalpur, Vaishali and Katihar, Khagaria is one of the worst hit by floods.
Unusually high discharge from the Ganga put the river in spate, causing flood in several districts along its course in Bihar, even though the state received deficient rainfall this year, said officials of the water resource department. For many, the Ganga’s rising water levels this year, currently flowing at 126 cm above the danger mark in state capital Patna’s Gaighat, came as an unprecedented occurrence. Many parts of Patna saw water entering people’s homes in the past three days.
Even as water resources department officials saw signs of a receding trend in the Ganga’s waters and hoped fresh inundation of areas to stop by Thursday, the state government requisitioned four companies of NDRF from Kolkata as the meteorological department predicted heavy rains in north Bihar from September 8.

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