Following heavy rainfall in 13 districts of Bihar in the past 48 hours, Patna on Sunday woke up to four- to six-foot-deep waterlogging in several areas. Officials say the state capital has not witnessed such waterlogging since the 1975 floods. And with the water level of Ganga rising, there are slim chances of the water receding soon.
According to a PTI report, at least 13 people have died after buildings collapsed and trees fell on them due to incessant rain in Patna, Bhagalpur and Kaimur districts. Bhagalpur DM Pranav Kumar said three people died when the boundary wall of a temple collapsed in Barari police station area and as many people were buried alive when a house caved in at Khanjarpur, said the PTI report.
Officials of India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Patna has received 227 mm of rain between 8.30 am on Saturday and 5.30 pm on Sunday, followed by Purnea district (165 mm), Bhagalpur (156 mm) and Gaya (105 mm).
NDRF and SDRF are conducting relief operations in low-lying areas of the state capital. The water-logging has severely affected one of Patna’s leading government hospitals, Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH). Water has entered the emergency ward and children ward. While students and resident doctors have shifted patients to other wards, patients seeking emergency treatment are still being taken in through the inundated first floor.
Dr Muktinath Singh, HoD of forensic medicine at NMCH, told The Indian Express, “This is a low-lying area. Water has gushed into the ground floor, crippling emergency and OPD services. Snakes are floating around. We have shifted some patients to Patna Medical College and Hospital.”
Several trains and flights have been cancelled, rescheduled or diverted owing to the situation. Most of Patna’s roads are waterlogged, including its lifeline Bailey Road. Some families living in low-lying areas such as Lohanipur and Kankerbagh have moved in with relatives and acquaintances.
Delay in monsoon retreat — almost by a month
In The ongoing spell, the IMD has put Bihar and parts of Meghalaya and Assam on red alert with these states likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on September 30. Thereafter, rainfall activity over Bihar is expected to subside. With the monsoon retreat not expected to begin before October 7 from the extreme north-western parts of the country, rainfall has been forecast over the Northeast, sub-Himayalan West Bengal, Gujarat and east Rajasthan during the first week of October. This means that the monsoon withdrawal, this year, will be almost over a month behind its scheduled date of September 1.
Met department officials said the heavy rainfall in the state could be a result of cyclonic circulation in southern Uttar Pradesh and northern Madhya Pradesh and a low pressure area over Bay of Bengal. The IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy rain till Tuesday.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “This rain is unprecedented. We have been trying our best to take out water but as long as the rain does not stop, nothing much can be done. We are carrying out rescue operations in worst-affected areas of the capital and other parts of Bihar.”
Even relatively higher areas in the capital, such as Buddha Colony, SK Nagar, Rajiv Nagar and Ashiana Nagar, have been inundated after the heavy downpour. Jagtanand Pandey, who runs a travel agency in Buddha Colony, said, “Our area has four- to five-foot-deep water at several places. It is difficult to go out to buy essential items. The saving grace is phones are working and electricity supply has not snapped.”
Residents of the capital have started stocking essential items.
Animesh Kumar from Gandhi Nagar said his car stopped on the waterlogged Bailey Road. “Several car owners faced a similar situation. Water has entered my house,” said Kumar.
A disaster management department official said they had evacuated some residents and delivered essential items and drinking water to others. Over two dozen NDRF boats are currently in action in Patna.