The death toll in rain-related incidents across the country in the past four days has touched almost 120 with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar major casualities. In what the weather department said could be the longest delayed withdrawal of Monsoon, rains continued to lash several states including Bihar affecting railway traffic, healthcare services, schools and disrupting power supply.
29 people were killed in rain-related deaths across Bihar as on Sunday according to officials of Disaster Management Department. Unconfirmed reports, however, put the overall death toll in the state at more than 30.
In view of the flood situation, the 19 teams of National Disaster Response Force were deployed in rain-hit areas of Bihar. According to ANI, NDRF has rescued two people and evacuated 4,945 people so far. NDRF is carrying out rescue and evacuation operations with other agencies in the flood-affected areas, particularly in the low lying parts of Patna.
Patna, the state capital, is among the worst affected with some of its parts submerged in water levels rising up to the chest and its residents being rescued with the help of municipal cranes normally used for moving earth.
The state was battered by heavy rainfall for the third consecutive day. The downpour has inundated streets, water-logged railway tracks and marooned business establishments. The water level in major rivers including Ganga, Koshi, Gandak, Bagmati, and the Mahananda, are on the rise, threatening to breach embankments at many places.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held a meeting with top officials, including those of the disaster management department, where he also interacted with officials in the other districts through video conferencing.
"It is natures fury before which man is often helpless. We are, however, trying our best. The problem is, we have no idea how long the downpour which caps a prolonged dry spell causing a drought-like situation is going to last."
"Even the weather department seems clueless, making different predictions at different points of time," he said.
He later on drove through the water-logged streets of the city, worst-affected localities like Rajendra Nagar, issuing instructions to officials, who accompanied him during the round.
The cranes of Patna Nagar Nigam turned saviours as these were used to pick up people stranded in places rendered inaccessible through normal modes of transport many of them girls and boys from far-off districts, who come here for studies and put up at hostels.
Business has been hit badly as even drug stores were forced to keep the shutters down for fear of the stocks getting damaged and even swept away by gush of water.
Many incidents of wall/roof collapse
The incessant rainfall also led to wall/roof collapse incidents in three different localities of Bhagalpur district claiming a total of eight lives, including a woman. Three casualties each were reported from Barari and Khanjarpur and two from Nathnagar localities.
In Danapur, on the outskirts of Patna, a tree fell on an auto-rickshaw crushing to death four of its occupants including a one and a half year-old girl. Three more deaths were reported from Bhabhua, the district headquarters of Kaimur, on account of the collapse of two mud houses in separate localities.
In Khagaria, three persons were drowned. A 32-year-old man was swept away by strong current in the river Ganges which locals attributed to the torrential rainfall. Besides two girls, cousins and aged five and eight years, drowned as they slipped into a deep pit while frolicking around in water-logged streets. In addition, five persons were swept away by strong currents in a river in Nawada. However, two of them a married couple swam to safety.
The remaining three were yet to be traced though the district administration said it was "not counting them as dead" in view of the possibility that they may be rescued by teams of NDRF and SDRF.
Rail, Air Traffic affected
The East Central Railway, headquartered in Hajipur and covering most parts of the state, said many trains have been cancelled, short-terminated or diverted on account of heavy water-logging over railway tracks and, in some places, damage caused to bridges.
ECR Chief Public Relations Officer also said "All trains passing through Patna Junction have been mandated to stop at Danapur as well. The move has been taken to bring some relief to the people who are greatly inconvenienced by the water-logging inside and around the Patna Junction.
"The arrangement shall continue till Monday when further decisions will be taken after a fresh review of the situation."
Air traffic has also been affected as GoAir announced on Twitter that it has diverted its flights from Mumbai to Lucknow and those from Delhi to Varanasi. The air carrier, along with IndiGo, issued advisories to passengers from the city to leave for the airport well in advance, apprehending traffic snarls. SpiceJet also urged passengers to "keep a check on flight status" since movement of flights could get affected "due to bad weather in Patna".
Maximum deaths in Uttar Pradesh
In Uttar Pradesh, at least 79 people have died since Thursday according to PTI. According to a state government report, 25 people died on Saturday, 18 lost their lives on Friday and 36 the day before.
In Gujarat, three women drowned after their car was swept away at a flooded causeway in Rajkot district on Sunday following heavy rains in several parts of Saurashtra region, officials said.
As many as 13 deaths were also reported on Saturday from Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in incidents triggered by heavy rains. Meanwhile, IMD Director General Mritunjay Mohapatra said on Sunday that the four-month monsoon season which is officially ending on Monday is unlikely to withdraw even till the weekend. The IMD said active monsoon still prevails over parts of Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
President's trip cancelled
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind's scheduled programme on Sunday at Jharkhand's Gumla district has been cancelled, an official statement said. Though the reason for the cancellation was not mentioned in the statement, sources said the decision was taken owing to heavy rain across the region.
(With Agency Inputs)