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Bihar, Bengal grapple with fresh flooding

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 14, 2017

Barely above water A villager carries grains on a banana raft as he shifts from a flooded village in Araria district of Bihar on Monday PTI   -  PTI

Levels of major rivers rising with discharge from upper reaches

Heavy rains in the upper reaches have flooded vast areas of the eastern region, including parts of West Bengal, Bihar, the southern plains of Nepal, lower Assam and Bangladesh.

Assam is now reeling under a second wave of floods. The North-Eastern States of Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram, too, have reported flooding.

However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) expects the situation in the the North-East to improve from this week. “The most intense part of the monsoons is over,” KJ Ramesh, DG, IMD, told BusinessLine.

But that brings no respite for the northern parts of Bihar, West Bengal, and Bangladesh as the discharge from the upper reaches is pushing up water levels in all major rivers, including the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.

Break monsoon

“What we saw is called a break monsoon situation. Under this, monsoons break their pattern and the activity shifts to the Himalayan foothills, resulting in heavy rains in the North-East, north Bihar, Nepal, and so on,” Kanti Prasad, meteorologist, Weather Risk, explained.

With all the major river systems of Nepal being tributaries of the Ganga, the rain is causing flooding across the North-East and the northern parts of Bihar (in Kishanganj and other areas).

As a result, railway linkages between Kolkata and North Bengal, which generally go through Kishanganj, remain suspended. Train services to the North-East have been suspended till August 16.

According to sources, water levels in the Ganga, Koshi, Mahananda and their tributaries are above the danger mark. North Bengal, too, is badly affected. The Torsha and Jaldhaka are flowing above the danger mark because of the water being released from Bhutan. Reports of inundation have also come in from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.

Bangladesh gearing up

Bangladesh is bracing for the worst as both the Brahmaputra and the Ganga meet there before draining into the Bay of Bengal.

According to Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus of BRAC University, who is a water resource and climate change specialist, the flood situation in Bangladesh may worsen over the next week or so.

Water levels downstream, along the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, have already risen. The situation is similar along the Ganga-Padma river systems, too. “Around August 19-20, the water from these two systems will meet. There is also the spring-tide effect that has to be taken into consideration. So we are a bit apprehensive,” Nishat explained.

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Published on August 14, 2017
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