Jamshedpur citizens join hands for Patna flood affected people

Source: avenuemail.in

Jamshedpur: Social organization, ‘Prayaas Ek Kadam’ and Inner Wheel Club of Patna joined hands to collect relief items like flattened rice, jagery, dry grocery items, utensils, old and new clothes, warm clothes, blankets, sanitary pads, bleaching powder, chlorine and other vital necessities for distribution among the flood affected people of Patna especially in the slum areas of Gandhinagar, Haj Bhawan, Kaushalnagar and others.

In a please release issued on Wednesday, October 9, ‘Prayaas Ek Kadam’ founder Renu Sharma and president Puja Agrawal stated that even today the flood affected were going through harrowing times. They mentioned that the organization’s team of relief workers would continue to remain in Patna for some more time in distributing relief materials to the affected people. They mentioned that with the help and cooperation of other social organizations that already three lots of relief material have been sent to Patna by road. The Inner Wheel Club of Patna is providing full support to the team of ‘Prayaas Ek Kadam’ in the distribution of the relief material sent from Jamshedpur.

The organization’s relief team working in the Patna flood affected areas include, besides Renu Sharma and Puja Agrawal Manju, Vinita, Ranvir, Shubham, Abhishek, Ramesh, Ravi and others who are working selflessly for the alleviation of misery of the flood affected people of Patna.

BEWARE OF THE WATER: 17 killed by lightning in Bihar, flood-like situation in several parts of the state

Source: dnaindia.com

At least 17 people, including men and children, were killed in incidents of lightning strikes in different parts of Bihar in the last 24 hours. Four deaths were reported in Kaimur district, four in Gaya, one in Katihar, three in Motihari, one in Ara and two each in Jahanabad and Arwal.

In Kaimur, a woman and a child died due to lightning strike. In Gaya district, one person died due to lightning strike in Tankuppa block and two lost their lives in Imamganj block. In Katihar, a person identified as Bhumeshwar Yadav died due to lightning strike. Sources told Zee Media that Yadav, a resident of Sukhay village, was struck by lightning when he was working in his field. 

In Motihari, three people, including two girls, died due to lightning strike, while a young person lost his life in Ara. In Jahanabad, one person died in Jaffarganj, while one death was reported from Meerganj village in Ratni bloc.

Meanwhile, several parts of Bihar is witnessing a flood-like situation due to overflowing rivers caused by incessant rainfall. In Patna, the water level of River Ganga rose 55 cm above the danger mark at Gandhi Ghat. The capital city experienced torrential rains for five-straight hours, causing water logging in Adalat Ganj, Kankarbagh, Sri Krishna Puri, Pataliputra and Rajendra Nagar.

The Central Water Commission (CWC) on Wednesday issued a flood alert for all the districts in Bihar along the course of Ganga from Buxar to Bhagalpur and said that the situation along the course of the rivers should be monitored closely.

Bihar: Flood situation grim in Darbhanga, locals disappointed with government

Source: indiatoday.in

The flood situation in Bihar remains unchanged and life has come to standstill in Darbhanga due to incessant rain and floods. Most of the houses are submerged.

In Makhnahi village, the only option for the villagers is to live on the terrace or makeshift houses to escape floodwaters.

Currently, boats are the primary mode of commutation and villagers have been complaining that boats are not provided by the government and they have to wait for hours for other people to offer a lift.

The locals have also complained about the unavailability of drinking water and food, which they are unable to get due to lack of conveyance.

“We are struggling for something as basic as drinking water and food. We can go to market only once in 4-5 days as there are not enough boats. No aid from the government is provided. We have lost everything kept on the lower floors of the house because of floodwaters, Who would compensate for our loss?” said Chanda Kumari, a local resident.

According to some village children, the schools continue to remain closed due to waterlogging in and around the areas causing huge loss to their studies especially the ones appearing for board examination this year.

Monetary Aid by the government is announced for the locals, which is not provided to them so far.

“We were expecting some relief from the government but are disappointed time and again. They have announced a sum of Rs. 6000 for which we have to run every day. Let’s see what happens now,” said another village.

Over 134 people have lost their lives as floods wreaked havoc in multiple districts of Bihar.

Around 1.25 lakh people have been evacuated from affected areas in the state so far. However, 1,243 villages in Bihar are still reeling under the calamity.

Flood-like situation in Gujarat claims 5 lives; Assam, Bihar return to normalcy

Source: indiatoday.in

ive persons were killed and over 5,000 were evacuated in Gujarat which was battered by nearly 500 mm of rain till Thursday morning, even as Assam and Bihar heaved a sigh of relief as the flood situation in the states improved considerably for the second consecutive day.

Water from the overflowing Vishwamitri river entered several localities in Gujarat’s Vadodara.

Four persons were killed in Bajwa area after a wall collapsed due to heavy rain. The body of an unknown man was recovered from Khodiyarnagar area Thursday, Vadodara district collector Shalini Agarwal told PTI.

According to figures provided by the state government, Vadodara received a staggering 499 mm of rainfall in 24 hours ending 8 am on Thursday.

Of this, 286 mm of rain fell in just four hours, between 4 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, the release said.

Close to 9 million people are said to be affected by floods in Bihar till Thursday though the number of casualties remained unchanged, at 130, for the second consecutive day, according to the state disaster management department.

Torrential rainfall in Nepal in the second week of July, besides heavy showers in districts of Bihar situated on the border, had caused half a dozen rivers, including Bagmati, Kamla, Khiroi and Burhi Gandak to swell, which continue to be above danger level at many places.

Assam’s flood situation also improved considerably with the water level of all the major rivers and its tributaries receding and life was slowly returning to normal in the flood affected districts.

A population of 3,64,553 in 459 villages of 12 districts are currently affected by the floods, according to the flood bulletin of Assam State Disaster Management Agency (ASDMA).

The marooned districts are Dhemaji, Darrang, Barpeta, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Chirang, Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Golaghat, Jorhat and Charaideo.

There was no report of any fresh casualty and the death toll in the current wave of floods in the north eastern state stays at 86.

It was a hot and humid day in the national capital with the mercury settling at 36.9 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal.

The minimum temperature settled at 27.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal, a Meteorological (MeT) Department official said.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said the monsoon is expected to be normal in August and September, in its forecast for the second half of the four-month rainfall season.

Mritunjay Mohapatra, Director General of IMD, said the next two weeks are expected to bring good rainfall due to formation of a low pressure area in the north Bay of Bengal.

Light to heavy rains lashed several places in Himachal Pradesh, while a yellow weather warning for heavy rains has been issued in the state for this weekend.

Una received the highest 76 mm rainfall in the state, followed by Amb (30 mm), Sundernagar (24 mm), Mandi (20 mm), Bhuntar (15 mm), Manali (12 mm), Shimla (7 mm), Dalhousie and Kufri (1 mm each).

The highest temperature in the state was recorded at 29.6 degrees Celsius in Nahan, while the lowest temperature was 14 degrees Celsius in Keylong, the official said.

The Shimla MeT centre has forecast rains in the state till August 7, and issued a yellow warning for August 3 and 4.

Downpour in parts of Kashmir brought down the temperature in the Valley, even as rain caused waterlogging in many regions.

Light rainfall started in the city around 7:30 am. The downpour got heavier as the day progressed, leading to waterlogging of roads in many areas of the city, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, officials added.

Flood catastrophe marooned 1.7 crore people in Assam & Bihar catastrophe

Source: reliefweb.int

The death toll in Bihar and Assam floods has mounted to 198. More than 1.17 crore people were displaced in the devastating floods.

Around 8,246 villages are reported to have been affected in both the states. Rivers like Brahmaputra and Ganges submerged 30 districts in Assam and 12 districts in Bihar.

A Rapid Need Assessment (RNA) was conducted by Caritas India, Christian Aid, Adra with the support of Inter-Agency Group (IAG) members and district officials from Government of Assam and Bihar to access the situation. The assessment was done in 6 districts of Assam (Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Chirang, Kamrup, Barpeta & Dhemaji) and 4 districts of Bihar (Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Purnea & Araria).

The assessment revealed that 90% families in Assam and 50% families in Bihar have no access to safe drinking water. All the drinking water sources i.e. open wells and handpumps (apart from the few raised ones) are already contaminated. The need for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene is essential to circumvent the offset of any major public health challenges.

The assessment of damaged houses discovered that 31% families in Assam and 11% families in Bihar completely lost their houses. In view of the monsoon season, 44% families in Assam and 10% families in Bihar are in need of immediate shelter support and Non-Food Items such as tarpaulin, bed sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, ropes, and ground mats.

Bimala Brahma, 65-year-old survivor from Dwimugori village of Chirang is traumatized of her loss. “I had a small piece of land where I had cultivated paddy which is gone underwater”, narrates Bimala when asked about her source of livelihood. After her husband’s death she used to stay alone in her small house which was also taken away by this flood. The need for psychosocial support is felt as people still could not recover from their loss.

The team has also recommended for burgeoning (post disaster) market system, cash-based programming to ensure that the choice of building back better remains firmly in the hands of the affected communities

In Assam alone, 1.79 lakh hectare of crop area was destroyed leading to the heavy loss of livelihood and source of income. The damage data of Bihar is still unavailable due to inaccessibility of the government in the target districts because of the severity of the floods. Most vulnerable communities like dalits, mahadalits and adivasis have lost their kharif crop which has created a deficit in the food security and a potential negative impact on their survival.

Educational institutions also suffered partial or entire damage. Most of the schools are being used as shelter homes by the affected/displaced population. Children reported that they have lost their certificates and other academic documents in the floods. There is a need for safe child centres spaces (CCS) that would benefit the affected children from physical and mental abuse, trafficking and for immediate future.

Caritas India Executive Director, Fr. Paul Moonjely appeals to all the people of goodwill to come out openly and support the cause of the victims who are affected by this massive flood, both in Assam and Bihar. Based on the report findings Caritas have started its response in Morigaon, Kamrup, Chirang & Lakhimpur districts of Assam and Sitamarhi of Bihar supporting 7500 families with WaSH support and hygiene promotion. Caritas India also planning to provide 3000 shelter kits in Bihar. Fr. Paul shared that Caritas India will come out with more support in the days to come to reach out to more families with livelihood and shelter support.

Caritas India is reviewing the situation every minute to access the damage and plan further intervention. Fr. Jolly, Assistant Director, and Fr. Sushil Modi, Administrator of Caritas India has made an emergency visit to Assam and Bihar respectively to express the solidarity and plan for humanitarian interventions.

Google is using AI to monitor flood in India, pilot project Patna called a success

Source: indiatoday.in

ndia accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the flood-related fatalities in the world. Nearly 107,487 people have died due to heavy rains and floods in India over a span of 64 years between 1953 and 2017. And the floods are only getting worse year after year. Is there something that can be done? While the Indian government is working on solutions that will mitigate effect of flood, Google has deployed its artificial intelligence (AI) systems and machine learning to predict floods with better accuracy, which can give people more time to prepare for it and migrate to a safer location.

Google has started Flood Forecasting Initiative in India, which aims to develop an ecosystem that predicts floods and informs people before such a natural calamity strikes so that loss to life and property can be reduced. The company piloted a program in Patna last year which was able to predict floods and the regions that it would be affected due to the natural disaster with an accuracy of over 90 per cent.

Achieving such a high accuracy is no ordinary feat, as it requires a combination of factors including a deep understanding of the topography, tons of historic data and real-time information that needs to be processed together to predict the region that would be affected by the floods. Google achieved this by combining the data from government agencies that provide on-ground information from measuring devices placed on the spot and thousands of images of the flood prone areas captured by various satellites orbiting the Earth.

The tech giant then ran hundreds of thousands of simulations on its machine learning models — such as the hydrologic model and the hydraulic model — to predict the flow of water in a particular region and create accurate flood forecasts, which in this case was near Patna.

Now, all this sounds quite simple. But in reality, the company faced a lot of challenges, both technological and regulatory while collecting data for its flood forecast model and broadcasting this information out to the public. While the company collaborated with governments and purchased and aggregated the distributed data to overcome some of the technological hurdles, to overcome the regulatory obstacles, the tech giant showed the governments results based on historic data and piloted in a small region to build the trust among other things.

“Part of what the biggest technological challenge here is to do something that is automated but is complex enough to work anywhere in the world… that is something that we are still working on,” Software Engineering Manager at Google, Sella Nevo told the India Today Tech. “On the regulatory partnership side, I think we are on the first steps of a long process to persuade governments to trust us with such an important and sensitive system.”

Once the company’s ML models made predictions about the floods, it collaborated with government agencies and local NGOs to impart this information to the people in the region where the company’s AI had predicted would be affected by the floods. Google has a separate interface for government agencies like the Central Water Works Commission in India, NGOs and international agencies like the UN and the Red Cross society, where it gives away more detailed information regarding its forecasts. In addition to this, Google also informed people using Google Maps, Google Search and Android alerts. However, these alerts contain simplified information that can be easily understood by the general public.

In low connectivity areas, however, Google used a combination of three methods to inform the residents about the possible disaster. First, the tech giant provided information to the government so that it can roll out information to the public. Second, it partnered with NGOs, in this case: SEEDS in Patna, that have dozens of workers on ground who can spread the word as quickly as possible. Lastly, the company made all its alerts publicly accessible.

“We make these alerts publicly available and allow even commercial entities to use it so thatwe are hoping that other organisations will help to fill whatever gaps are left after our efforts,” said Nevo.

Patna pilot was a success and now Google is planning to scale its operations and launch its flood monitoring initiative in many locations near the Ganges and Bhramaputra. “We have expanded around Patna and we now have fairly large area around Guwahati We now cover around six times the area we did last year,” Nevo said.

But India is not the end, Google aims to deploy this system globally and it is focusing on the countries in the South East Asia region, which will be picked based on the number of fatalities and people affected. “Our high priority countries include Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Those are the areas where we hope to launch in the future,” said Nevo.

Heavy Rainfall in Bihar; Rivers Pose Flood Threat to Many Districts

Source: weather.com

Ever since the monsoon swept the Bihar on June 22, the state has witnessed good rainfall. Bihar has received 333 mm of rainfall this season from June 1 to July 12— 9% more than normal for this time of the year. On Friday, the monsoon fury continued as many parts of the state were lashed with very heavy rainfall and thunderstorm.

The downpour is triggered by the monsoon trough—an extended region of low atmospheric pressure— that persists from east to west of Indo-Gangetic plain. This well-marked low-pressure has moved northwards since Thursday and a branch of it runs from northwest Bihar to northeast Bay of Bengal across Jharkhand and Gangetic West Bengal causing widespread rainfall throughout the region.

The Weather Channel met team has forecast the surface low-pressure to persist for the next 5 days leading to very heavy rain and thunderstorms across the region. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy to very heavy rains with extremely heavy falls at isolated places across Bihar. The very heavy rainfall is very likely to continue in the state till Monday.

Water levels in all major rivers of north Bihar are rising due to the incessant rainfall in Bihar and Nepal. The Times of India reported that the river Gandak poses a flood threat to Muzzafarnagar and Champaran. The sorrow of Bihar, Kosi river, as well as other rivers like Karcha and Bagmati, are also likely to swell due to heavy rains. The authorities have been monitoring the situation.

The 24-hour rainfall accumulation in Patna till Friday morning was 25 mm. The temperatures in the city stayed 2°C below normal between 25°C and 31°C. Generally cloudy sky with intermittent rain is forecast in Patna till next Tuesday. More rains are likely to follow in the next week. The 24-hour rainfall was very high at 152 mm in Farbesgang and 130 mm Chapra.


Source: skymetweather.com

The eastern districts of Bihar have been observing on and off rain and thundershower activities for quite some time now. During the last 24 hours, Bhagalpur and its adjoining areas have received light to moderate rain and thundershowers.

According to Skymet Weather, the intensity of rains will increase over Bihar during the next few days. Neighbouring Jharkhand would also observe intense showers now. Light rain will be witnessed in both the states for the next 48 hours. Thereafter, the intensity of rain will increase significantly. These rains would be a result of the Cyclonic Circulation over Bihar and its adjoining areas. A well-marked Low-Pressure Area is already present over Northeast Madhya Pradesh and adjoining Southeast Uttar Pradesh, which is instrumental in giving occasional light rain in the region for the last two days.

Easterly/southeasterly winds from the Bay of Bengal will impact both the states during the upcoming rainy spell. Moreover, we expect the intensity of rain to remain high in Bihar than Jharkhand. Bihar is likely to observe light to moderate rains with a few heavy spells, while light to moderate showers with isolated heavy spells would be a sight in parts of Jharkhand.

During this spell, good rains are also expected in adjoining Nepal. This raises fear of rivers flooding in Nepal and large amounts of water flowing into Bihar and its rivers, resulting in flood like situation in the state. However, we do not expect any serious flooding to take place, but due precautions must be taken.

This spell of rain is likely to continue until July 9, with rains peaking on July 7. This could turn out to be the rainiest spell of Monsoon Rain so far. It will definitely be helpful in reducing rainfall deficiency in the state to a great extent. These showers will also be highly beneficial for crops and in soil moisture restoration.

Flood of stink in parched city

Source: telegraphindia.com

The capital may be reeling from an acute water crisis but a locality in the heart of the city is crippled by flood, albeit of drain water.

A roughly 150-foot stretch of the main road that connects Vidyapatinagar Colony in Ward No. 2 with Gandhinagar Colony and Kanke road has been under knee to ankle deep drain water for 10 days. The reason, said local residents and Ranchi Municipal Corporation sources, is the discharge of the existing sewage onto a waste land has been choked by the land owner, a grade-IV employee of the civic body.

Bhartendu Kumar Jha, a resident of the locality, said it is a problem that recurs twice or thrice every year.

“The road is inundated by drainage and sewage water. Ranchi Municipal Corporation is aware of this problem but the municipal authority never showed interest for permanent solution of the problem. I informed RMC officials and they once visited the locality and returned without giving any solution. Ranchi’s civic guardians apparently have always been immune to such criticism,” Jha said.

Sources in the civic body said the RMC employee and his family members own the 10-cottah vacant plot which is used as the discharge area of the drainage, and they have blocked the discharge.

“In the last two months, we received around two dozen complaints from local residents who said that some unknown person choked the drainage. Every time we cleaned it, the next day the drainage was found choked again,” said an RMC employee who pleaded anonymity.

Residents are being forced to stay indoors due to the overflowing drain.

“We are living in a hell with foul smells, insects and reptiles all around,” said Shiv Kant Mishra (75), a pediatrician whose house is situated next to the vacant plot.

“I can’t even go out of my house as my premises are flooded. The drain water has polluted my well. Parents face problem to visit my home,” added Mishra, who on average treats 40 children at his home clinic.

Raman Kumar, assistant to gynaecologist Sunita Jha who runs her private nursing home in the colony, said patients are not coming these days and they take medical advice over phone.

“The road is narrow and full of potholes and flooded so it is risky for pregnant women to visit the nursing home. This is one of the busiest roads of the colony, but unfortunately the RMC doesn’t care for basic civic amenities,” said Kumar.

Residents fear the worst is yet to come; schools are due to open next week after summer vacations. Vidyapatinagar Col-ony has a population over 10,000. Gandhinagar has four schools including DAV, and health centres such as CCL Hospital.

Most of the children of the locality study at these schools.

“My two daughters study at DAV school. I am worried how they will go to school,” said homemaker Sabita Mishra. “They will have to travel an additional kilometre. For the past 10 days me along with my children and husband have been living with my parents at Boreya.”

Around three years ago, the civic body had sanctioned Rs 36 lakh to extend the drainage pipe to Gandhinagar. However, work was stopped midway. The RMC reasoned that it would be an unnecessary expenditure since the mega drainage and sewerage project for Ranchi under the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) has already been kicked off including at ward number 2.

“Do we suffer till our locality is covered under JNNURM? This project is already running late,” said resident and shopkeeper Bapi Chatterjee.

“My business has suffered. We are always neglected by RMC.”

Contacted, Ranchi deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said: “I personally called the land owner, who is an RMC employee, to allow his land as outfall but he gave cold response. Last year we decided to extend and connect the drainage with that of Gandhinagar. But the authorities of Central Coalfields Limited denied permission. We are trying to find an alternative.”

Homemaker Anita Jha said the locality would hold meeting within a couple of days “to decide whether to pay tax to the RMC”.

She added: “We the housewives have been facing problems. During the Assembly election we will surely teach the government a lesson.”