Aid pours in as floods kill hundreds, affect millions

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Devastating floods in 24 districts of Uttar Pradesh and 19 districts of Bihar have taken toll of nearly 600 people, creating lot of hardships and putting out of gear the life of more than a million population. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an immediate relief of Rs. 500 crores to Bihar besides Rs. 2 lakh each to the kin of those who died in the floods after he went for an aerial of its four worst hit districts. Uttar Pradesh is still waiting for its turn as prime minister has no such immediate plans to survey the affected areas of the State. The UP government is in a process of assessment of its overall damages due to this natural calamity and likely to finalise its memorandum for seeking financial assistance from central government.

More than 1,200 are feared to have already died in India, Nepal and Bangladesh in some of the worst flooding for years. Forty million people are estimated to have been affected in the region.

In Uttar Pradesh, the figures of deaths have crossed more than 100 in the flood affected 24 districts where 2,060 villages were submerged out of 3,118 affected villages and the residents have been evacuated to safer places with the help of 25 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 33 PAC rescue teams. More than 25 lakh people of the eastern Uttar Pradesh adjoining Indo-Nepal border have been badly hit by floods. 183 motorboats and 4,367 boats were pressed into relief operations to evacuate about 1,09,918 people of which 58,847 took shelter in 328 makeshift flood relief camps. The floods have destroyed homes, government buildings, hutments besides other infrastructural networks including roads, electricity and communication installations in 24 districts across Indo-Nepal
border where flood water is being accumulated flown down from Nepal.

An official in UP said, “We have deployed around 282 medical teams to treat the affected people and as per records around 3,21,163 were attended by these teams. We had operated around 89 meal distribution centers but with the improvement in situation now we are running only at five places.” The ration and essential commodities to the flood victims were also distributed through 243 distribution centers to help them out.

The Commissioner Gorakhpur Anil Kumar told Tehelka, “Twenty-four people in the region have been died in floods. He told that the rivers have started receding so at some places situation is coming back to normal but quantum of damage is yet to be ascertained.” Balrampur scored largest causalities where 17 people died in floods. Besides 16 deaths were reported from Behraich, 14 from Gorakhpur, 11 from Siddharth Nagar, nine each from Shravasti and Barabanki and eight from Maharajganj. The NDRF teams in Siddharth Nagar airlifted huge number of victims to safer places.

Floods have taken toll of 57 livestock besides adversely affecting around 2.5 lacs big and small animals. The floods have completely destroyed 254 furnished houses and 791 mud houses in 24 floods hit areas. The crop cultivation in about 2,50,067 hectare were completely damaged out of 4,22,336 hectare of affected agricultural land. According to rough estimates the crop loss could be more than Rs.100 crores and above.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath has been conducting extensive tours in flood affected districts and monitoring relief operations personally. He visited the badly affected areas of Gorakhpur and supervised Chauri-Chaura’s Kona Sonbarsa, Campierganj’s Kudia village, Baansgaon’s Beldari Tola and Sadar Teshil’s Sictaur village on a steamer. He went to the people marooned by the floods, heard their difficulties, distributed food and relief material and assured them of all help from the state government. He made similar inspections in the flood affected villages in Ballia, Mau, Basti districts to streamline relief network.

Deaths mounted to 440 due to floods in worst affected Bihar where 1.71 crore people have been affected in 19 districts. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey of four flood-hit districts of Bihar including Araria, Kisanganj, Katihar and Purnea on 26th August, 2017. He took stock of the relief, rehabilitation and compensation measures in detail with the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and senior officials of Bihar in Purnea. The Prime Minister assured all possible assistance to the state, He announced immediate assistance worth Rs.500 crore. The Prime Minister assured that a central team will visit the state soon to assess the extent of damage and relief.

The Prime Minister directed that insurance companies must dispatch their observers quickly to the flood hit areas to assess the farmer’s claims related to crop insurance and provide them relief at the earliest. He also directed the road and surface transport ministry to take effective steps for the repair of roads damaged by the flood. Center will also provide all possible assistance to the state for early restoration of the power infrastructure affected by the flood. Financial assistance worth Rs.2 lakh will be provided to the family of each of the deceased while assistance worth Rs. 50,000 will be provided to the persons who are seriously injured in the flood hit areas.

Communique issued by Bihar government’s disaster management department claimed that the flood waters, however, started receding in some places, prompting many to return to their homes but it will take long to back to normalcy. The number of relief camps have also dropped to 262, in which 1.65 lakh people were staying. Araria district alone accounted for 95 deaths followed by Sitamarhi 46, Katihar 40, West Champaran 36, East Champaran 32, Darbhanga 30, Madhubani 28, Madhepura 25, Kishanganj 24, Gopalganj 20, Supual 16, Purnea and Muzaffarpur 9 each, Saharsa 8, Khagaria 8, Saran 7, Sheohar 5 and Samastipur 2. A total of 2.74 lakh people were being served food at 1,114 community kitchens operational in the marooned areas of the state, the release said. Twenty-eight National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams comprising 1,152 personnel with 118 boats are taking part in rescue and relief operations, it said.

Apart from the NDRF, 16 teams of the State Disaster Response Force comprising 466 personnel are helping people in the flood-hit areas with 92 boats. A total of 630 Army personnel in seven teams are assisting in relief and rescue operations with 70 boats, the release added.

Prime minister Modi also shared the details of understanding with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba that both the countries have agreed to have a detailed project report prepared at the earliest on the Saptkosi High Dam Project and Sunkosi storage cum diversion scheme. Both the nations have also agreed to enhance the co-ordination in the areas of water logging and flood control. It will give a boost to flood control measures in the entire region. This was the first visit of the PM to Bihar since the JD(U)-BJP coalition government was formed on July 27 after Nitish Kumar deserted the Grand Alliance over alleged graft issue.

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