India – Floods in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh Affect 4 Million, Ganges at Record Levels

The recent spate of floods in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have affected almost 4 million people, according to officials.

The Ganges at Bhagalpur in Bihar and Ballia in Uttar Pradesh is at record high levels.

Bihar

The Bihar Department of Disaster Management reported yesterday that the current floods have affected almost 3 million people. The worst affected districts are Patna, Bhagalpur, Vaishali, Buxar, Bhojpur, Sonepur, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger, Nalanda and Katihar.

Seven further fatalities have been reported in the last 24 hours. Five deaths were reported from Samastipur, one each was reported in Nalanda and Khagaria. At least 29 people have died during the recent spate of flooding, and the total number of people who have lost their lives in the Bihar floods since June now stands at 127.

Almost 300,000 people have been evacuated by the current flood situation. Bihar Department of Disaster Management say that 115,000 people are staying in 262 relief camps.

In the latest report, the Department of Disaster Management said that that the Ganges is above the danger levels at Dighaghat, Gandhighat, Hathidah in Patna, Bhagalpur and Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district, Munger district and Buxar district.

The Ganges at Bhagalpur is at record levels of 34.67 metres, beating the previous high of 34.5 metres set in September 2013.

The Sone, Punpun, Burhi Gandak, Ghaghra and Kosi are also flowing above danger levels in several areas.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) says it has deployed 21 flood rescue teams to the flood hit areas. Between 18 and 22 August, NDRF had rescued 14,178 people.

Some of those rescued included pregnant women, at least one of whom gave birth on the rescue boat assisted by NDRF personnel, according to NDRF reports.

Uttar Pradesh

The recent floods in Uttar Pradesh have now affected 870,000 people in 987 villages of 28 districts.

Over 60,000 people have been evacuated, mostly from the districts of Varanasi, Allahabad, Ghazipur and Ballia and 30,247 are currently staying in relief camps. Banda, Jalaun, and Ghaziabad districts have also been badly affected.

Nineteen teams from the NDRF are working in affected areas, carrying out rescue and relief operations. Helicopters from the Indian Air Force are also being used to air drop supplies to affected areas.

At least 43 fatalities have been reported during this recent spate of flooding that first began on 19 August.

India’s Central Water Commission say that rivers, including the Ganges, are above warning levels in 14 different locations. Media reports say that the flood situation has worsened due to release of water from Nepal and adjoining states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttrakhand which led to further rise in water levels of major rivers.

The Ganges at Ballia is at a record high of 60.39 metres, beating the previous high of 60.25 from September 2003.

At Allahabad, the Ganges stands at 85.33 metres, well above the danger level of 84.73 metres, although levels are expected to fall.

At Varanasi, the Ganges is 72.56 metres, above danger levels of 71.26 m but below the record of 73.90 m set in September 1978. Levels are expected to fall over the next 24 hours.

Varanasi is Prime Minister Modi’s constituency. Via Social Media, he said yesterday that he was “deeply concerned by the flood situation in Varanasi. PMO is closely monitoring the situation and is in touch with with local authorities. NDRF teams are present at Varanasi for rescue and relief work. The MP office there is working round the clock to provide all assistance.”

Floods in Uttar Pradesh, August 2016. Photo: India MoD
Floods in Uttar Pradesh, August 2016. Photo: India MoD