Patna: At least 13 persons have died after buildings collapsed and trees fell on them due to incessant rain in Patna, Bhagalpur and Kaimur districts of Bihar. The three districts are among over a dozen in the state that were lashed by incessant rain for close to 48 hours bringing normal business to a grinding halt and disrupting rail and road traffic in most places.
According to weather department, the state capital has received more than 200 mm of rainfall since Friday evening, which was described by Principal Secretary, Disaster Management department, Pratyay Amrit as "totally unexpected".
He also expressed concern over water having entered many power sub-stations which could affect the functioning of sump houses in the long run. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, emerging from a video conference with district magistrates, told reporters, "We are making all possible efforts. I would appeal to the people of the state to have patience and courage. Torrential rain have followed a prolonged dry spell which vindicates our governments resolve to combat climate change through environmental preservation."
According to Bhagalpur District Magistrate, Pranav Kumar, three persons died when the boundary wall of a temple collapsed in Barari police station area while as many people were buried alive when a house caved in at Khanjarpur area.
In Danapur, on the outskirts of Patna, a one-year-old girl and three women died when a tree fell on an autorickshaw carrying them. Three deaths were reported from Bhabhua, the district headquarters of Kaimur, where continuous rain led to the collapse of two mud houses.
A birds eye view of Patna made the city appear like a huge lake dotted with structures of concrete while low-lying areas like Rajendra Nagar and Pataliputra Colony home to many prominent citizens, private hospitals and medical stores and situated several kilometres apart were submerged in waist-deep water.
"It was unexpected. The weather department had last week predicted heavy rainfall for many parts of Bihar but not Patna. We are trying our best to rescue people from inundated areas with the help of NDRF and SDRF. The sump houses are working overtime. However, water entering power sub-stations poses a challenge," Amrit said.
"In the event of water entering a sub-station, power has to be disconnected to avoid major casualties. The sump houses then become dependent on diesel. But the availability of fuel is finite and if heavy rainfall persists, pumping out water from inundated streets could be hampered drastically," he said.
Meanwhile, the East Central Railway headquartered in Hajipur said that close to 30 trains have been cancelled and many others short-terminated or operated through alternative routes on account of the flooding of Patna and Danapur junctions and many other smaller stations.
In Nawada, water has crossed the danger mark, threatening residents of five villages even as efforts were on to trace three locals who were reportedly swept away by the current.