Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Flood-hit Indian state appeals for more help

About 600,000 people have been plucked from the flood plains. Many more have waded out themselves, but 350,000 more still need to be saved from roofs or isolated high ground and brought to safety, they say. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Saharsa, India (AFP) Sept 3, 2008
Flood-hit northern India is in dire need of international aid on the scale of that seen after the 2004 Asian tsunami, a state official said Wednesday.

A large swathe of the already desperately poor state of Bihar is likely to remain under water for several months, leaving authorities coping with millions of people who have lost everything, officials and aid workers said.

"We will definitely need the support of international organisations and agencies, the same as after the tsunami (in 2004) or the Gujarat earthquake" in 2001, said Bihar disasters minister Nitish Mishra.

"It is not possible for just the government to have a complete rehabilitation policy on its own. Whatever more is available, we need it."

The flooding started on August 18, when a river burst through defences upstream in Nepal and changed course to cut across a large rural area in Bihar state.

The UN has said at least a million people are homeless, although the aid group Save the Children said the figure could be five times higher.

"This is six times the number of people that were made homeless by the cyclone in Myanmar four months ago and 7.5 times the number of people in India that were made homeless after the tsunami in 2004," the agency said.

"The reported death toll is not high, but the number of people affected by this flooding is on an unimaginable scale."

Officials said work to fix the flood walls and divert the Kosi river back to its normal course cannot begin before the rainy season ends in October, and is unlikely to be completed before early next year.

About 600,000 people have been plucked from the flood plains. Many more have waded out themselves, but 350,000 more still need to be saved from roofs or isolated high ground and brought to safety, they say.

The military said it was stepping up the rescue efforts.

"Since the water is receding slowly in some parts of Bihar, the armed forces are confident of rescuing the marooned population in a couple of days," said air commodore G. S. Cheema, in charge of the mass evacuation.

However aid workers said that in some areas the currents were still too strong, and that much of the food being dropped by air had landed in water.

"All the wells and water sources are gone. We foresee a scarcity of water, milk, food. Crops have been destroyed. Land will not be fit for cultivation for six to seven months after the waters recede," said S.P. Singh, Red Cross chief in Bihar.

Aditi Kapur of the British aid group Oxfam said authorities were still struggling to come to terms with the disaster.

"The magnitude is greater than what the state has been able to handle. No one was prepared. More needs to be done," she told AFP.

Bihar's agriculture ministry estimated crop damage at 1.5 billion rupees (36 million dollars), and warned it could mount if flood waters do not subside.

Evacuated villagers, some with buffaloes and cows they managed to rescue, have crowded into every safe building on the edge of the vast flood plain. Schools, universities, temples and madrassas have all turned into shelters.

In the worst-hit areas near the town of Saharsa, 150 kilometres (95 miles) east of the state capital Patna, only tree-tops were visible above the water.

Some families were camped on road embankments.

Hira Sada, a 60-year-old farmer, said his village was neck-deep in water -- leaving him and his extended family stuck on a road along with some livestock they managed to save.

"We can't go back for at least three months. But what can we do? There is no work," he said.

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Mass exodus from Indian 'river of sorrow'
Madhepura, India (AFP) Sept 2, 2008
Distraught and destitute, countless numbers of poor Indian villagers are slowly wading out of their flood-hit region in a desperate search for food and drinking water.

  • Hanna leaves 61 dead in Haiti as more storms brew in Atlantic
  • China building rush may have led to weak quake schools: govt
  • Saving Lives Through Smarter Hurricane Evacuations
  • Bush surveys storm-hit Louisiana as evacuees trickle home

  • Global Warming Greatest In Past Decade
  • Thawing Permafrost Likely To Boost Global Warming
  • Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Could Cause Rapid Sea Level Rise
  • No rain, no water for hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians

  • Hanna Not Moving Much Near North Of The Caicos Islands
  • Arctic Ice On The Verge Of Another All-Time Low
  • Changing The World, One Student At A Time
  • GOCE To Look At The Earth Surface And Core

  • Bush says will release reserve oil if firms ask
  • Taiwan calls for more oil exploration cooperation with China
  • AltaRock Energy And Weyerhaeuser Explore Engineered Geothermal System (EGS)
  • Gazprom Neft Looks To Send Crude To China Via Kazakhstan

  • Sharp unveils new anti-bird flu air purifier
  • HIV-positive Swazi women march against royals' shopping binge
  • Matsushita says new DNA technology identifies disease risks
  • Canopus Biopharma Chinese Researcher Team Up To Treat Avian Influenza

  • Racing Cane Toads Reveals They Get Cold Feet On Southern Australia Invasion
  • Ancient Mother Spawns New Insight On Reptile Reproduction
  • Study Of Islands Reveals Surprising Extinction Results
  • ESA Criticizes Bush Administration's Overhaul Of The Endangered Species Act

  • EPA completes river cleanup
  • Heavy Metal Linked To Poor Growth And Fertility In Sydney Harbor Crustaceans
  • Greenland Ice Core Reveals History Of Pollution In The Arctic
  • Even in Europe, 20 million people without toilets: forum

  • Chewing gum may reduce stress
  • Scientists rebut finding of 'Hobbit' bones
  • New Book Supports Theory Of Man The Hunted
  • Oetzi The Iceman Dressed Like A Herdsman

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement