Loss of lives, crops, houses & hopes: India battles floods

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New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Parts of India, be it Assam in the Northeast or Bihar in the East, are inundated and helpless due to floods that have killed scores and affected lakhs.
The surging floods in Bihar have spread to 11 districts, affecting nearly 15 lakh people. Relief and rescue operations by the state government have not proved adequate. Major rivers are in spate and flowing above the danger marks.
With rivers, like the Ganga, the Bagmati, the Burhi Gandak, the Kamala-Balan, the Mahananda and the Ghaghra, flowing above the danger marks in many areas, 625 panchayats in 86 blocks across 11 districts of Bihar have been inundated, affecting nearly 1.5 million people.
Disaster Management Additional Secretary Ramchandra Deo said nearly 14,011 people were staying at 26 relief camps. Over 1,77,060 people are at the mercy of the state and community kitchens to be fed daily. Flood waters have destroyed their crops and homes, and state roads. The NDRF and the SDRF have evacuated 1,36,464 people in Bihar with the help of boats.
Meanwhile, in Assam the situation has marginally improved. As many as 102 lives were lost in floods that affected 25 lakh people there.
Assam has recorded 16 per cent excess rain since June 1, when the four-month monsoon season begun. It has recorded 934.8 mm rain against the normal 806.5 mm, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) officials.
Of the total flood-hit people in 23 of the state’s 33 districts, around 17.27 lakh are in the five western districts of Goalpara (470,253), Barpeta (395,456), Morigaon (333,367), Dhubri (278,841) and South Salmara (249,423), said the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials.
The mighty Brahmaputra and other rivers have inundated 2,265 villages, destroying crops in 112,667 hectares in 27 districts, leaving farmers in distress.
Floods affected 85 per cent of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, killing as many as 129 animals.
In Meghalaya, particularly in the West Garo Hill area, floods have affected more than 100,000 people in 175 villages. The river Jinjiram is overflowing too.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “The north-eastern India is dealing with double challenge — Covid-19 and floods. Heavy rainfall has caused huge damages, several people have lost lives, and many are displaced. I express my sympathies to all affected families. I assure you that the country stands with you in this tough time.”
Rivers in West Bengal, UP and Madhya Pradesh too are in spate, prompting the NDRF to scramble its teams there apart from in Maharashtra and Kerala.
While large parts of the country is still coming to terms with the loss of lives and the economic mayhem, any flood-related disease outbreak, like cholera, will only put additional strain on the healthcare facilities that are battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

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