Flood situation remained grim in Bihar where swollen rivers originating in Nepal and flowing through the states northern districts have affected more than 45 lakh people so far, the disaster management department said on Friday. No loss of life was reported on account of floods in the last 24 hours, causing the death toll to remain stable at 11, though the number of people troubled by the calamity grew by more than half a million during the period, according to the bulletin issued by the department.
The number of distressed people, across 1012 panchayats of 14 districts, has reached 45.39 lakh, compared with the previous days figure of 39.63 lakh, said the department.
The state's response to floods has triggered wordy duel between rival parties, keeping in view the approaching assembly election.
Leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, who toured flood-hit parts of East Champaran, expressed bewilderment over "only 19 relief camps" having been set up by the Nitish Kumar government so far.
"The states water resources minister is busy gathering resources for the ruling JD(U) ahead of assembly polls. Nobody has seen the states minister for disaster management in the past four months when the state has been hit by crisis after crisis. "And the Chief Minister has not stepped out of his residence for 135 days. The people are left to despair", Yadav tweeted.
He was lambasted by the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine which charged the RJD leader with trying to gain publicity by his tours instead of extending cooperation to the state government in its flood control measures.
According to the disaster management department, 3.76 lakh people have so far been evacuated from flood-ravaged localities out of whom 26,732 have taken shelter at the relief camps.
Besides, 1193 community kitchens are catering to 7.71 lakh people in the inundated areas.
Relief and rescue operations were being carried out by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).
"Our 21 teams are deployed across 12 of the flood-affected districts. Our personnel have so far rescued more than 8600 people", said Vijay Sinha, commandant of 9th battalion of NDRF, stationed at Bihta in Patna district.
"Saving lives and beyond is our motto and we pay special attention to vulnerable populace like children, the elderly and pregnant women," he added.
Sinha highlighted the case of a young woman from Darbhanga, who went into labour late Thursday night and could get timely medical care because of timely response to her familys distress call.
Our men picked her up from her marooned village and carried her to the nearest primary health center, which was 10 kms away, the NDRF commandant said.
The districts hit by the floods are West Champaran, East Champaran, Saran, Gopalganj, Siwan, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Khagaria, Samastipur, Kishanganj, Supaul and Sheohar.
Only West Champaran (four) and Darbhanga (seven) have reported flood-related deaths.
East Central Railway zone Chief Public Relation Officer, Rajesh Kumar, said that with floodwaters flowing above danger level near three Railway bridges in the Samastipur-Darbhanga section, routes of some special trains have been diverted, while services of some others stopped for the time being.