Bihar flood: 85 lakh people in 1,253 panchayats under the grip of deluge

Bihar flood: The flood situation in Bihar remained grim with 85.60 lakh people in 1,253 panchayats being under the grip of the deluge, even as the toll stayed at 127 with no fresh deaths being reported on Saturday, officials said. Among the 13 districts affected by the deluge, Sitamarhi and Madhubani were the worst-affected with 37 and 30 deaths respectively. The number of flood-hit panchayats rose from 1,243 on Friday to 1,253 on Saturday. The number of blocks affected by the floods also rose by five taking figure 111 on Saturday, the state disaster management department said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reviewed the floods situation in north Bihar and the drought-like situation elsewhere with his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi and other cabinet colleagues besides top administrative officials. Interacting with the district magistrates concerned through video conferencing, the chief minister told them to assess the damage to property and crops in the flood-affected areas and provide relief to the people. The government is providing ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the next of the kin of each of the deceased and all flood-affected families are getting the assistance of Rs 6,000 through direct cash transfer system. As many as 885 community kitchens are being run by the state government in the flood-hit areas and over 6,000 people have taken shelter in eight relief camps, the disaster management department said, adding food, medicines and other relief material are being distributed in marooned areas. Two IAF helicopters have been pressed into service for air-dropping of relief materials in inaccessible areas, the department said. However, there were reports of people staging protests against the inadequate distribution of relief. In Muzaffarpur district, women from Jamalpur Kodayat panchayat picketed the office of the Circle Officer of Gaighat to protest against unavailability of boats, sources said. Six rivers originating in Nepal have been flowing above the danger mark in Bihar for nearly three weeks ever since catchment areas in the adjoining country witnessed torrential rainfall.