Patna, Jul 30: More parts of Bihar were on Thursday affected by floods, caused by rise in water levels of rivers originating in Nepal, though the disaster management department asserted that this has resulted in no fresh loss of lives.

According to the departments bulletin, 71 panchayats of Madhubani and Siwan districts, which were not affected by the floods till the previous day, have now been hit by the calamity. The number of affected districts so far has, thus, reached 14.

The number of people affected by deluge has risen to 39.63 lakh, up from 38.47 lakh on Wednesday. Death toll, however, remained stable at 11, with Darbhanga accounting for seven casualties and the remaining four reported from West Champaran.

Other districts declared as flood-hit are East Champaran, Sheohar, Supaul, Kishanganj, Sitamarhi, Gopalganj, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj and Khagaria. At a meeting he chaired on the previous night to review the flood situation, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar instructed officials to pull up their socks reminding them “it is in the months of August and September that we see the worst of the calamity”.

“We must have arrangements in place for evacuating people from vulnerable areas. We are this time faced with a twin challenge in the backdrop of raging corona pandemic. “It must be ensured that those being kept at relief camps are tested for COVID-19 on a priority basis and social distancing is maintained as far as possible”, he said.

Till date, 3.16 lakh people have been evacuated and moved to safe places by personnel involved in relief and rescue work, including 21 teams of the NDRF. More than 25,000 people have taken shelter in 19 relief camps and close to six lakh people were being fed at more than 1,000 community kitchens.

An embankment along the Budhi Gandak river at Bairiya in East Champaran district was vandalized by unidentified villagers. “An FIR has been lodged in connection with the damage caused to the embankment which has, however, resulted in no loss to life and property. Our department is doing the needful”, water resources minister Sanjay Kumar Jha tweeted.

The 9th battalion of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), stationed at Bihta near Patna, has rescued thousands of people ever since floods began wreaking havoc a couple of weeks ago. “Our personnel have rescued close to 8,000 people, which include children, the elderly and pregnant women. Our men have fanned out in 13 of the affected districts,” the battalions commandant Vijay Sinha said.

One of NDRF teams was Thursday diverted from West Champaran to Siwan upon the disaster management departments request, he added. He also informed that NDRF men saved the life of a four-year-old boy in East Champaran district, who suffered a snake bite at his marooned village.

“Our men reached the village late in the night. The boy, Adnan, was carried in a boat to the nearest primary health center, wading through flood waters for a six kilometres long stretch. Thankfully, timely medical aid took him out of harms way”, Sinha added.

Source: PTI