India – Over 50,000 Affected by Floods in West Bengal

Around 58,000 people have been affected by flooding in parts of West Bengal, India, over the last 2 days. Heavy rain in catchment areas, including in Sikkim and Bhutan, have increased river levels in West Bengal.

West Bengal State Disaster Management Minister, Javed Khanin, said that around 150 villages in the northern districts of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Koch Behar (also known as Cooch Behar) have been flooded. Jalpaiguri district is the worst hit. The minister said:

“The Government has issued flood alert in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district due to heavy rains in the upper reaches of the River Teesta.”

According to India’s Central Water Commission (CWC), levels of the Teesta river at Domohani in Jalpaiguri district currently stand at 85.98 metres, above the danger levels of 85.95 metres. The Jaldhaka river at Jaldhaka, Jalpaiguri district is currently at 80.25 metres and rising. Danger level is 80.9 metres.

Rivers are at or above danger levels in at least 4 other locations in the state (see Flood Summary data below), including the Ganges at Farakka, Murshidabad district, which stands at at 22.76 metres, above the danger level of 22.25 metres.

Minister Khan said that the administration was put on high alert for contingencies, and that all available resources to save lives and property have been mobilised. State Disaster Management teams have carried out evacuations in over 100 villages and taken those affected by the floods to, safer, higher ground. Patients at a public health centre in Jalpaiguri district have been taken by boat to other medical centres. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have also been deployed for rescue efforts.

West Bengal State Disaster Management Authority have set up 43 shelters in the affected districts where relief material is being provided to those who have been temporarily displaced from their houses due to the flooding.

Floods in West BEngal, July 2016. Image; West Bengal State Disaster Management Authority.
Floods in West Bengal, July 2016. Image; West Bengal State Disaster Management Authority.