Flood alert in Bihar after Nepal landslide

August 03, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

Patna: Bihar has issued an alert over likely floods in four districts and ordered evacuation of people due to fears of a drastic rise in the water level of the Kosi river following a landslide in Nepal that blocked a tributary of the river.

The alert was sounded in Supaul, Saharsa, Purnea and Madhepura districts in the Kosi region.

Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said the government sounded the alert after massive landslides on Friday night killed eight people, trapped many more and blocked the course of a river in Nepal.

“As the landslide blocked the main course of the river and water accumulated there forming a massive water body, the Nepal Army is likely to blast the blockade, which is bound to cause an abrupt rise in the water level of the Kosi,” Chaudhary said.

The state disaster management department has asked officials to start evacuation of people living near the embankments of the Kosi in the four districts.

“We have directed the district administrations to evacuate people and see that they don’t get trapped when the river level increases. Hundreds of thousands of people live in villages situated within the embankments of the Kosi,” said disaster management department special secretary Anirudh Kumar.

Five teams of the National Disaster Response Force and three teams of the State Disaster Response Force have also been rushed to tackle any emergency in view of the floods.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday expressed concern over the blockage of the Kosi’s tributary in Nepal.

“He (Modi) has directed that all possible help should be provided to the Bihar government and Nepal,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Nepal government has urged the administration of Sunsari district, where the Kosi barrage is located, to open the 56 gates. “The massive rise in the water level may hit the barrage, so we have instructed the home ministry to open the gates of the Kosi barrage,” said an official.