Bihar · Floods

Bihar Floods of 1987- V – District Khagaria

Above: Cover photo and map from NIDM report of Bihar floods 2007

Guest Blog by: Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra

Khagaria faced the first round of floods starting 8th July this year when the floodwaters of the Kosi, the Kareh and the Bagmati had engulfed large number of villages in the district. The Ganga and the Burhi Gandak was relatively quiet at this time despite heavy rainfall locally. It took towards the end of July that the flood level of the rivers started rising alarmingly and the Kazijaan embankment on the Burhi Gandak breached on the 2nd August in Alauli block of the district. The flood water emanating out of the gap created thus engulfed the Panchayats of Raun, Sahasi, Budhaura, Mujauna, Bhikhari Ghat, Shumbha and Burhawa Haripur. The road connecting Alauli to Khagaria was submerged in flood water and its connection with Khagaria was snapped. There was an untimely flood in the Kosi and all the Panchayats of the Beldaur block came under a sheet of water. The blocks of Chautham, Parbatta and Gogri were still spared by floods as the Ganga was maintaining its low profile. So far only 14 Panchayats of Alauli, 5 Panchayats of Chautham, 13 Panchayats of Gogri, 11 Panchayats of Beldaur, 3 Panchayats of Khagaria and only one Panchayat of Kosi was flooded. Relief programs were started in this district on the 4th August but its coverage was meager according to the local people. Rise in the levels of the Badla-Karachin embankment on the Kareh and Badla- Nagarpara embankment on the Kosi/Bagmati was causing concern among the local people. Continue reading “Bihar Floods of 1987- V – District Khagaria”

Bihar · Floods

Bihar Floods in 1987 – IV – Sitamarhi

Above: Cover photo and map from NIDM report of Bihar floods 2007

Guest Blog by Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra

Till the end of the third week of July, rains in Sitamarhi were normal and whatever flood that normal water could cause was there in the district. But when it stared raining in the fourth week of July then just within three days, on the 27th July, the Bagmati overtopped the Muzaffarpur-Sitamarhi Road at three places and the road communication between the two towns was snapped. The road communication, however, was quickly restored on the 31st July.  On the 28th July, the Bagmati breached its right embankment near Belwa Ghat in a length of 400 meters. A flood regulator was being constructed here for the past many years to divert part of the river flow (50,000 cusecs)and make it rejoin the river downstream thus delaying this portion of the flow by 16 hours when it rejoined the mainstream. Engineers hoped that by so doing they will be able to control the floods of the river to a great extent. The under construction regulator used to get washed away every year during the rains and this was not a new thing that it was damaged this year also. Water coming out of the damaged regulator submerged the villages on the western bank of the river. The rains of the past 4-5 days were enough to flood hundreds of villages in the blocks of Bairgania, Majorganj, Shivhar, Tariyani, Piprahi, Belsand and Runni-Saidpur of Sitamarhi and Katra and Aurai of Muzaffarpur district. The river water had entered the Sub-divisional HQ of Shivhar on the right bank and on the left bank in the block HQ of Belsand and the thana there through the gaps left in the embankment for constructing sluice gates in future.. The water of the Bagmati had entered every house of Sugia, Katsari, Sugia Bazar, Shahpur, Pokharbhinda, and Bisahi etc and it was flowing one and half feet above the Sitamarhi-Muzaffarpur road near Kataunjha where the river crosses this road that was closed for the vehicular traffic. There was a simultaneous flood in the rivers of the Adhawara Group and a causeway connecting the villages Chilara and Parchhaiyan was washed away. This meant that the road connection between Sitamarhi and Sonbarsa block was also lost. The rail line between Sitamarhi and Darbhanga was overtopped at many places and the train services were suspended between the two stations. Continue reading “Bihar Floods in 1987 – IV – Sitamarhi”

Bihar · Floods

Bihar Floods in 1987 – III – West Champaran

Above: Cover photo and map from NIDM report of Bihar floods 2007

Guest blog by: Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra

West Champaran district of Bihar is located in the Northwestern corner of the state and is surrounded by the Gandak and the Burhi Gandak along with their tributaries. Two of its blocks, Madhubani and Thakaraha, are located on the western bank of the Gandak and are adjacent to the Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh.  There used to be a rail line connection between Chhitauni Ghat of Uttar Pradesh and Bagaha in Bihar. A bridge connecting these two towns was washed away during the floods in 1924 and the British Government did not restore this bridge as the train service was coming handy for the freedom fighters to travel to UP and vice versa. This bridge and the rail service were restored a few years ago. The administration of these two blocks (these are split into four now) is run from Padarauna in UP during the flood season as the blocks get thoroughly disconnected from Bihar. To prevent the westward movement of the Gandak and embankment named Pipra-Piparasi Ghat embankment (PP Embankment) was constructed in 1960s as the river has a tendency to shift towards the west and there is a constant pressure of the river on this embankment during the rainy season. At times, the safety of this embankment is threatened and there is long history of its breaches and the engineers of the Irrigation Department face a tough time maintaining the embankment. When the rail bridge was not there on the Gandak one had to go to Madhubani and Thakaraha by crossing the Ganga via Chhapra, Siwan and Gopalganj. Continue reading “Bihar Floods in 1987 – III – West Champaran”

Bihar · Floods

Bihar Floods in 1987 – II – East Champaran

Above: Cover photo and map from NIDM report of Bihar floods 2007

Guest blog by Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra

Floods in East Champaran started following the heavy rainfall in the last week of July 1987. There was a sudden rise in the flood levels of the tributaries of the Burhi Gandak (Sikrahana) like the Sarisawa, the Tilawe, the Gaadh, and the Bangari leading to submergence of lower areas of Raxaul town where flood water of depth up to two to two and half feet was spread all over. This initial flood had also affected 25 Panchayats and 125 villages in the blocks of Raxaul and Ramgarhawa. The rains that set in on the 26th July, 1987 continued unabated and by the time of the beginning of August all the major rivers –the Gandak, the Burhi Gandak and the Bagmati were in spate. Road communication of Motihari, the district HQ of East Champaran, was disrupted fully in this very first spell of floods. There was three feet deep water passing over NH-28 near Chhapwa. The road to Bettiah and Areraj was too badly damaged to afford vehicular traffic to pass through. Road from Pipra Kothi to Siwan was already damaged much before the rains and its condition deteriorated further after rains.  All the three rivers were flowing above danger mark on the 2nd August, 1987 and a vast cultivated area along with hundreds of villages came under a sheet of flood water of these rivers. The train service between Sugauli and Darbhanga was suspended because of flood water on the railway track. Continue reading “Bihar Floods in 1987 – II – East Champaran”

Bihar · Floods

Bihar Floods of 1987-I

Above: Cover photo and map from NIDM report on Bihar floods of 2007

GUEST BLOG BY Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra (dkmishra108@gmail.com)

 Background Bihar faced the worst floods if its history in 1987[1], the records of which are yet to be bettered. In the preceding year of 1986 the flood was severe in many parts of Bihar but as the rainy season drew to close, the last October rains failed and a vast area of the State came under the grip of drought. Surprisingly, the districts cited for perennial floods like Saharsa, Purnea and Khagaria in the State were also hit by the drought. The year 1987, however, was worst for floods in Bihar (in addition to UP and W Bengal) while the rest of the country was facing one of the most severe droughts in the century. Many parts of the country were facing famine like situation while all the rain bearing clouds had moved toward Bihar. Traditionally, two days of continuous rains or a clear sky of the same duration during the rainy season signals floods or drought in the State and makes farmers apprehensive of the days to come. Continue reading “Bihar Floods of 1987-I”