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Six more dead in rain-related incidents in UP; Bihar toll reaches 42, relief ops under way

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 2, 2019  | 21:22 IST

Lucknow/Patna, Oct 2 (PTI) Six more people died in rain-related incidents in Uttar Pradesh, pushing the death toll in the state to 117, even as authorities tried to provide relief to flood-hit people in Bihar where torrential rains have claimed 42 lives over four days. Both the states have been battered by a burst of rainfall towards the end of the four-month-long monsoon season, which officially ended on Monday. The heavy rainfall has led to several rivers, including the Ganga, flowing above or near the danger mark at several places. All the six fresh deaths reported in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday were related to house collapse. With this, the death toll in rain-related incidents since September 25 has reached 117 in the state and over 2,300 kutcha houses have been damaged, officials said. The weatherman has predicted light rainfall in parts of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. In Bihar, the slow pace of relief operations has fuelled anger among the people affected by a flood-like situation, particularly in Patna, parts of which have been under water for days. On Wednesday, water was being pumped out of the inundated areas in the state capital. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar urged people to "have patience". But he lost his cool in the face of persistent queries from a journalist about the water-logged streets of Patna. Kumar shot back at the scribe late Tuesday, asking him whether there was similar outrage when Mumbai was deluged or when floods disrupted life in the US. A state government statement put the total number of people affected by the rains at 17.09 lakh. The districts hit by the rainfall were Patna, Bhojpur, Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Samastipur, Begusarai, Lakhisarai and Vaishali, situated on either side of the Ganga. According to the state disaster management department, 42 casualties have been reported from areas affected by rainfall, though a district-wise break-up was not yet available. Patna was pounded by 342.5 mm of rainfall between September 27 and 30 as against the state average of 255 mm, according to the statement. Union minister Giriraj Singh of Kumar's ally BJP said the Bihar government owes an apology to the people of Patna. The firebrand leader said an alert had been sounded ahead of the downpour but the state government failed to warn the administrative machinery. "It is not a failure of the people of Patna. It is our failure... We owe an apology to them," said Singh, the Lok Sabha MP of Begusarai in Bihar. Kumar, however, explained that the worst-affected localities like Rajendra Nagar were low-lying areas and urged for an "honest appraisal" of the government's efforts and a proper study of the factors responsible for the current situation. The chief minister waded through water-logged streets, with his pyjamas folded up to knees, to supervise rescue and rehabilitation efforts. "People are urged to have patience. The worst affected localities like Rajendra Nagar and Kankar Bagh are low-lying areas and hence vulnerable to water-logging," he said. According to the state disaster management department, six NDRF teams and two SDRF teams have rescued more than 10,000 people stranded in inundated areas. Those rescued included Deputy CM Sushil Modi and Padma Bhushan awardee folk singer Sharda Sinha. Meanwhile, fresh areas of West Bengal's Malda district were inundated following incessant rain, affecting around 3 lakh people, officials said. Low lying areas of 86 gram panchayats of the district were submerged as swelling water of the Ganga, Phulahar and the Mahananda rivers entered the villages. A total of 25 relief camps have been opened in the district, in which around 10,000 people have taken shelter. Environmentalists have held climate change and rise in global and local temperatures responsible for anomalies in rainfall in northern India. "Parts of Bihar and the Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand belt already exhibit a rising trend in terms of the number of heavy rainfall events. Though we cannot pinpoint each event to climate change unless we do in-depth attribution study, it is likely that the rise in global and local temperatures have contributed to observed anomalies in rainfall," said Roxy Mathew Koll, Co-Author of IPCC's special report on oceans and cryosphere. PTI TEAM ABH ABH

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