Bihar flood: An annual saga.

Bihar is the most flood-prone state of India. About 73-74% of the area of the state falls under the flood zone that makes up around 17.2% of the total flood-prone area of India. Several factors contribute together that makes Bihar and its native suffer every year. Key regulating factors are its flat topography as well as yearly rainfall of 1200 nm on average. Geographically, Bihar is surrounded by several rivers including Ganga, Sone, Punpun, Falgu, Karmanasa, Durgavati, Kosi, Gandak and the Ghaghara. The Kosi river causes major destruction each year which is why it is also known as “The sorrow of Bihar”.

In the year 2007, the Bihar flood alone affected over 10 million people and did heavy damage to the infrastructure worth crores. Likewise, in the year 2017, 15 million people were affected again because of the flood and havoc caused by it. Again, the flood of 2019, affected the lives of 8 million people spread across 13 districts. In the Year 2020, when the whole globe was suffering from the menace of Covid-19, Bihar was dealing with an additional flood problem that made the condition even more miserable in terms of medical facilities and lacking resources.

Bihar flood: Annual damage

Munger, Samstipur, Purnia, Muazzafapur, Saran etc. undergo damage and face flood threats each year due to surging water levels in rivers such as Gandak, Bagmati etc. Half of Patna that is the capital city of Bihar submerge in the water due to intense rainfall and improper drainage facility because of which the rainwater stays stagnant which hinder day to day activities immensely. Despite taking preventive measures Bihar government fail every year to manage the flood effectively.

In the year 1954, different structural and well as non-structural preventive measures such as flood forecasting, flood plain zoning were adopted as a method of protection against floods. Structural measures such as flood-embankments, drainage channels etc were made to check flood water. But recent cases of a breach in the embankment in which 66 villages of Gopalganj were flooded show that embankment alone isn’t enough to put a halt to the brimming water level of rivers that costs thousands of lives and livelihood annually.

The aforementioned preventive measures are not proved to be as beneficial as it was thought to be. So another structural measure such as a huge storage dams should be built up to hold up the flood peaks of major rivers and recede the water downstream that will control the gushing water up to some extent. Apart from storage dams, preparedness such as flood forecasting, warning, flood insurance and policies should be taken as a flood management strategy to alleviate the misery caused by the flood.

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