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Bihar government evacuates 20,000 people over threats of Kosi River flood; 1.5 lakh people to be evacuated by today

Sunday, 3 August 2014 - 1:31pm IST | Place: Patna | Agency: dna webdesk

  • Reuters

The water level of Kosi River in Bihar might rise dangerously to cause flood as a 10-metre high water wall might sweep down it. The threat looms large after the Nepalese Army carried out low-intensity blasts to remove the landslide debris from a river in Nepal to free the huge quantity of water accumulated there.

Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said, "The Nepal Army has not been entirely successful in removing the landslide debris that has blocked Bhote Kosi river and turned it into a lake. The Army conducted a series of low-level intensity blasts yesterday evening, releasing a few thousand cusecs of water."

The government has already evacuated 20,000 people from the areas that are apprehended to be under the flood threat; and 80,000 more people are expected to be rescued by evening today. 

The minister told PTI, "According to our information, the blockage on Bhote Kosi is around 1 kilometre in length and removing it to free the river is a tough task. Our teams of officials in Nepal are keeping a watch on the situation."

On Saturday evening, after news came, The Crisis Management Committee (CMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, held an emergency meeting in New Delhi and a decision was taken to rush some experts to Nepal besides 15 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to Bihar. Even narendra Modi said all support must be routed to both Bihar and Nepal to overcome the crisis.

Bihar sounded a high alert from today and began rescue operations preparing for the worst ordeal that the landslide debris cannot be removed properly. 

"Owing to torrential rains, Kosi's path upstream in Nepal's Sindhupal chowk district has been blocked by heavy landslides resulting in the formation of a big lake. Nepalese authorities are trying to breach in a controlled manner. Once the lake gets breached, a 3-5 metre wall of water will come gushing down and sweep four northern districts of Supaul, Madhepura, Saharsa and Madhubani in 14-18 hours," a senior home ministry official said. "Pray that the breach remains controlled or else the consequences will be disastrous. The flood wall could go be as high as 10 metres."

However, the National Disaster Management Authority is in no mood to come to the rescue of those in danger as dna reported that the gates of the Bihar office remained closed due to weekend. The guard told dna to come back on Monday.

The Bihar Disaster Management Department (DMD) principal secretary Vyasji said the state government has put its personnel on alert and instructed the affected districts to make arrangements to evacuate 1.5 lakh people in eight districts along the river, the PTI reported on Saturday night. He said the state government has also sought the help of the army. The Central government, Vyasji said, has dispatched seven additional companies of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Kolkata to help its eight companies deployed in Supaul, Madhepura and Saharsa districts.

All the rescue operations and fear bring back the fearful memories of the 2008 flood caused by the same river in Bihar.

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