India – 180,000 Evacuated After Floods in Bihar

The Disaster Management Department (DMD) in Bihar, India, reports that 41 people have died and over 180,000 people have been evacuated after flooding in 10 districts over the last few days.

Heavy rain from 10 August in Bihar and river catchment areas upstream, including Nepal, have increased river levels dramatically.

On 13 August, Basantpur in Supaul district recorded 454 mm of rain in 24 hours. On 12 August, as many as 6 locations in Kishanganj district recorded between 240 mm and 340 mm of rain in 24 hours.

As of 14 August, India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) reported that 21 river forecasting stations were at or above warning levels in the state, including the Koshi, Mahananda and Gandak rivers.

DMD says that 3,541 villages are currently flooded in the state, with 374 homes destroyed. As many as 182,420 people have been forced to evacuate. Over 48,000 people are currently staying in 254 relief camps set up by authorities.

Among the worst hit districts are Kishanganj, Araria, and Katihar. Other affected districts include Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Madhepura, Sheohar, Purnia and East and West Champaran.

DMD report that at least 41 people have died in the floods, including 20 in Araria, 5 in Kishanganj, 6 in Sitamarhi and 3 in Darbhanga. Other deaths occurred in East Champaran (3), West Champaran (3) and Madhubani (1).

Aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Purnia, Bihar, 14 August 2017. Photo: Government of Bihar
Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, makes an Aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Purnia, Bihar, 14 August 2017. Photo: Government of Bihar

Response

Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi said that the central government has assured all support to the Bihar government to mitigate the flood situation and that the situation is being monitored closely. Via Social Media, he said:

“My thoughts are with all those affected by floods in parts of Bihar. The situation is being monitored closely. Centre assures all support to Bihar government to mitigate the flood situation. Teams of NDRF are in Bihar for rescue and relief work”.

Twenty-two teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with 100 boats and 15 teams with 82 boats from Bihar’s State Disaster Response Force ( SDRF) are carrying out rescue and relief operations. Eight teams from India’s army and air force, with 80 boats and 2 helicopters, are also carrying out flood rescue and evacuations.

NDRF flood rescue in Bihar, August 2017. Photo: NDRF

Warnings, Rivers and Rainfall

On 10 August, India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an flood warnings for Bihar. IMD said:

“Rivers Kosi, Kamlabalan, Adhwara Group, Bagmati, Burhi Gandak, Gandak, Ghaghra are likely to flow in low to moderate with High flood situation in few locations in Supaul, Madhepura, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Khagaria, Sitamarhi, Shivhar, Muzaffarpur,Samastipur, Begusarai, West and East Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan,Saran, Vaishali districts of Bihar during 10 to 14 August 2017.”

Rivers

As of 14 August, India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) reported that 21 river forecasting stations were at or above warning levels in the state, including the Kosi, Mahananda and Gandak rivers.

With heavy rainfall in the catchment areas, in Bihar as well as other areas including Nepal, the water level of these rivers has been rising for several days.

According to CWC, as of 14 August, the Gandak at Dumariaghat, Gopalganj stood at 63.22 metres and was forecast to reach 63.7 metres over the next 24 hours, surpassing previous record highs.

The Mahananda river at Jhawa in Katihar district stood at 34.07 metres, beating the previous record high of 33.51 m set in August 1987. The Mahananda at Dhengraghat, Purnia, stood at 38.08 on 14 August, but was expected to fall.

The Bagmati at Benibad, Muzaffarpur reached 49.55 metres and was forecast to rise further, thus approaching the previous record level of 50.01 metres.

Also as of 14 August, the Kosi river at Basua in Supaul was at 49.01 metres and at Baltara, Khangaria, 35.72 metres.

Rainfall

Below are figures from the Disaster Management Department (DMD) in Bihar for a 24 hour period:

10 August, 2017

  • Lakshmipur, Jamui – 218.8 mm
  • Gaunaha, West Champaran -158 mm

11 August, 2017

  • Sahdai Buzurg, Vaishali – 163.8 mm
  • Rosera, Samastipur – 163.2 mm
  • Narpatganj, Araria – 140.2 mm

12 August

  • Dighalbank, Kishanganj – 342.2 mm
  • Bahadurganj, Kishanganj – 324.4 mm
  • Pothiya, Kishanganj – 320.2 mm
  • Kochadhaman, Kishanganj – 280.6 mm
  • Kishanganj (city), Kishanganj -275.2 mm
  • Thakurganj, Kishanganj – 245.4 mm
  • Parihar, Sitamarhi – 218.6 mm

13 August

  • Basantpur, Supaul – 454 mm
  • Keoti, Darbhanga – 317 mm