Sunday 23 October 2016

Bihar Orders Evacuation as Kosi Flood Threatens 4 Districts


Bihar government has ordered immediate evacuation of people living along the embankment of Kosi in four districts as a 10-metre high wall of water is expected to sweep down the river from Nepal by this evening or tonight, officials said.

Describing the situation as "most alarming", Bihar Disaster Management Department (DMD) Principal Secretary Vyasji said the situation has also created prospect of imminent floods in Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura and Madhubani districts.

"The Nepal government has informed us that a 10-metre high flow of water in Kosi will come to India as a result of measures being taken there to remove the landslide and the resultant damming of one of the tributaries there. Water is expected this evening or night. The situation is most alarming," the Principal Secretary said.

He said the highest level alert has been sounded and Supaul town has been made the headquarters to tackle the imminent crisis. Relief and rescue operations are being planned if the Kosi water breaches or crosses the embankment causing floods in the districts.

"The people are being asked to evacuate the area between the river and its embankments and take refuge in relief camps established by the District Magistrates. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams are reaching there. We have also alerted New Delhi about the impending disaster," added Vyasji.

The crisis like situation has developed after a massive landslide last night over Bhote Kosi, a major tributary of the Kosi River.

The landslide has blocked the main course of the river, damming it and forming a huge water body. The Nepal Army is preparing to blast it to provide relief to the area, but the operation will release a massive volume of water into the Kosi River.

The state government is keeping its fingers crossed that a repeat of the Kosi disaster 2008 does not happen.

A breach in Kosi embankment at Kushaha in Nepal on August 18, 2008 had resulted in one of the most disastrous floods in Bihar.

The river changed its course, killing hundreds of people and displacing around 30 lakh. The incident also wrought wide scale destruction in over 8 lakh acres of cropland.

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