Sorrow of Bihar

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

the Saptakosi river, that flows from Nepal into India, shifted its course for the first time since 1954 and caused the worst floods in Bihar's history.

Till the last week of August, the river had flooded 15 districts in Bihar, bordering Nepal, displacing several million people and killing 45. The prime minister has declared it a national calamity and announced an aid package of Rs 1,000 crore and 125,000 tonnes of food grain. Earlier, the river had ravaged Nepal's Sunsari district, affecting 40,000 people and killing 50.

On August 18, the river breached an eastern embankment of Kosi near Kusaha in Nepal, picked up a channel that it had abandoned 200 years ago and entered Bihar. Since then the width of the breach has increased to 1.5 kilometres. The river had been mounting pressure at the breach point since it was showing tendency to drift its course eastward. Officials say the breach in the embankment can be plugged only sometime in October and November, they say.

Experts had all along feared this breach due to high silt load and strong river current.

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