Swollen rivers, originating in Nepal and flowing through north Bihar, continued to wreak havoc on Saturday when more areas and inhabitants were hit by the floods raising the number of people affected by the calamity to over 73 lakh, said the disaster management department.
According to the departments bulletin, the size of the affected population grew by two lakh since the previous day though no loss of lives was reported during the period and the death toll remained stable at 23. The number of panchayats affected, till date, was 1223, a rise of 24 since Friday.
Altogether 16 districts of the state have been reeling under floods caused by rivers like Kosi, Bagmati, Kareh, Kamla Balan, Gandak and Budhi Gandak etc. Darbhanga has been the worst hit, accounting for nine casualties and having 20 lakh of its residents affected.
Six deaths have been reported from Muzaffarpur where 14.10 lakh people are marooned. The remaining fatalities have taken place in West Champaran (four) and Saran and Sawan (two each). East Champaran occupies the third position in terms of affected population (10.14 lakh) though it has suffered no loss of human life.
The district, however, accounts for the maximum number of deaths of cattle (18) caused by floods which has killed 63 animals. Other troubled districts are Sitamarhi, Supaul, Sheohar, Samastipur, Khagaria, Gopalganj, Kishanganj, Madhubani, Madhepura and Saharsa.
Water resources department minister Sanjay Kumar Jha toured Samastipur and Darbhanga to take stock of embankments along the rivers and other flood prevention works. Relief and rescue operations are in full swing with 23 NDRF teams, besides 10 of the SDRF, involved in the efforts.
According to Vijay Sinha, commandant of the NDRF 9th Battalion stationed at Bihta, near Patna, “our men have rescued more than 11,700 people till date.
We have been paying particular attention to those in need of immediate medical attention like a sick infant whom our men picked up, along with his family members, around midnight.
“He was taken from his marooned village to the nearest hospital where timely intervention saved his life.
The relief measures in place also include 1342 community kitchens where 9.86 people were being fed besides seven relief camps where nearly 12,000 people evacuated from their habitats are taking shelter.
The total number of people evacuated from the badly affected areas was 5.08 lakh, said the department.