Bihar floods: Toll rises to 40 as NDRF, SDRF, IAF rush for rescue ops; Patna, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga among worst affected districts

FP Staff

The toll in the Bihar floods has risen to 40 and nine people have reportedly been rinjured, the state disaster management authority said on Tuesday, even as rescue and relief operations were undertaken on a war footing as the state grappled with large-scale inundation in capital Patna, among other districts.

Teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), SDRF, IAF have been pressed into service as 6,000 to 7,000 people have been evacuated from affected areas in Patna after torrential rains hit the state over the weekend.

NDRF commandant Vijay Sinha on Tuesday said that boats are being used to rescue stranded residents in the Rajendra Nagar area of the state capital. "Since yesterday (Monday) 6,000-7,000 people including the elderly and patients have been rescued from the area. We are now concentrating on the distribution of relief materials," he was quoted by ANI as saying.

A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba was held to review the flood situation in Bihar. Reportedly, 22 teams of the NDRF have been deployed, of which six are deployed in Patna. Two IAF helicopters deployed in rescue and relief operations.

On Monday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the extent of the floods in the state.

According to reports, Modi assured Nitish of "all possible help" by the Centre to tackle the flood situation, in a telephonic conversation on Monday. "Spoke to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar ji regarding the flood situation in parts of the state. Agencies are working with the local administration to assist the affected. Centre stands ready to provide all possible further assistance that may be required," Modi tweeted.

Earlier on Monday, Nitish, accompanied by the minister for water resources Sanjay Jha and Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar, conducted an aerial survey of the flooded areas before reviewing the situation across the state at a high-level meeting where he interacted with district-level officials through video conferencing.

"Distribution of relief and rescue of stranded people will pick up speed on Tuesday as water would be flushed out with the help of pumps being brought here from Bilaspur. We are also gearing up to meet the challenge of infectious diseases that are known to strike water-logged areas", the chief secretary told reporters after the meeting.

Rescue and relief operations were undertaken on war-footing as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) deployed 19 teams in 14 districts of Bihar and evacuated more than 4,000 people including women, patients, children and elderly, ANI reported.

An Indian Air Force chopper arrived in Patna on Monday noon, after the state government requested it, and air-dropped food and other relief materials for people living in the low-lying areas where the water level is reportedly several feet deep.

People stood on the terraces or roofs of their houses, trying to catch packets that were dropped by the helicopter or hurled at them from boats ferried by the NDRF and the SDRF, PTI reported.

"More than 200 personnel are involved in rescuing people from marooned localities and distribution of relief material to those stranded in inaccessible areas with the help of 36 boats which are plying through Patna", Commandant, NDRF 9th Battalion Vijay Sinha was quoted by PTI as saying.

Many districts of the state, including Patna, are witnessing a flood-like situation. The city has been witnessing acute waterlogging, with residents resorting to unusual modes of transportation in order to move from one place to another. As per the weather forecasting report by India Meteorological Department, Patna will receive more rainfall for the next few days accompanied by thunderstorms.

ANI reported that five teams of the NDRF are operational in Patna, two are deployed in Bhagalpur and one team each in Buxar, Munger, Begusarai, Gopalganj, Kishanganj, Katihar, Khagaria, Madhubani, Supaul, Vaishali, Araria, and Darbhanga.

Besides Patna, districts like Hazipur, Bhagalpur, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, and Vaishali have also been badly affected. On Sunday, three people were killed after a wall collapsed in Bhagalpur district.

"More than 200 rescuers with 36 rescue boats are engaged to evacuate the people to safer places. Today more than 4,000 affected people have been evacuated that includes women, patients, children and elderly and shifted to the safer places by NDRF in Patna. The operations continue in Bihar," the NDRF said in a statement.

On Sunday, Nitish visited the severely flooded areas of the state capital and issued necessary instructions to the officials for resolving the issue.

The inundation of many parts of Patna also saw Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi being "rescued" by a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) boat and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag staying at a hotel.

Private air carriers GoAir and IndiaGo came out with the offer of "full cancellation fee waiver" as flights were diverted to alternative destinations in view of the bad weather prevailing in the Bihar capital.

With inputs from agencies

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