2008 Bihar flood

2008 Bihar flood

Infobox flood
image location = Flooded Bihar.jpg

name = 2008 Bihar flood
duration = 18 August 2008 - Present
total damages =
total fatalities = 150+
areas affected = northen Bihar, India and Nepal

2008 Bihar flood or Curse of Kosi [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Curse_of_Kosi_A_legend_comes_true/articleshow/3426653.cms Curse of Kosi] ] is a monsoon flood on the Koshi River affecting over 2.3 million people in northern Bihar state, India. [cite news|url=http://www.ibnlive.com/news/half-of-bihar-under-water-30-lakh-suffer/72587-3.html|title=Half of Bihar under water, 30 lakh suffer;|date=09/01/2008|publisher=CNN IBN|accessdate=2008-09-01]

Geological and geographic background

After draining 60,000 sq. km. in Tibet and the Nepal Himalayas, the Koshi River enters the plains of southern Nepal and India's northern Bihar state where ~100 million cubic meters of sand and silt washing down from the mountains annually have built an immense alluvial fan extending 180 km from the last foothills to the Koshi's confluence with the Ganges and covering 15,000 sq. km. The laws of physics and geology would normally cause the river to spread widely over this fan surface during floods, but less extreme flows would follow ephemeral channels that would eventually fill with sediment, forcing the river to seek a new channel every decade or so. A system of embankments has been built to confine the river to a single channel near the western edge of the fan, however the river's heavy sediment loads and convexity of the fan's surface (perpendicular to its main axis) conspire against containment.

With about 150 cm. of rain normally falling in the mountains during the summer monsoon from June through September, flows exceeded 25,000 cubic meters a second have been recorded at Chatra where the river exits the Himalayan foothills. On 18 August 2008 heavy flows caused the manmade embankment to fail. The river then abandoned the prescribed western channel for an old channel near the center of its alluvial fan, but also spread out widely and inundated towns, villages and cultivated fields on the densely populated alluvial fan.

The alluvial fan has a concave surface along its main axis, so floodwaters flowing rapidly down the steeper upper surface slow and begin to pond up as the slope lessens further down. The extent of flooding can be visualized by considering that the record 25,000 m3/sec. flow could cover 2,160 square kilometers a meter deep in 24 hours, or that it would sustain a flow of water moving one meter per second (86 km in 24 hours), one meter deep and twenty-five kilometers wide. In this manner the 2008 flood covered a vast area and disrupted the lives of 3 million people including approximately 1000 deaths. [http://www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/SA_MON.htm] Recurrent flooding on the lower Koshi contributes disproportionately to India's historic record of more flood deaths than any other country except Bangladesh. The Koshi is also known as the Sorrow of Bihar.

Affected areas

Flooding occurred around the Koshi River affecting over 2.3 million people in northern Bihar. [cite news|url=http://www.ibnlive.com/news/half-of-bihar-under-water-30-lakh-suffer/72587-3.html|title=Half of Bihar under water, 30 lakh suffer;|date=09/01/2008|publisher=CNN IBN|accessdate=2008-09-01] The worst affected districts included Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Araria and West Champaran.

Death toll rose from Indian floods as around 1000 people have been killed in monsoon rains. [http://www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/SA_MON.htm] [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/29/2350609.htm?section=justin abc.net.au, Death toll rises from Indian floods] ] Villagers ate raw rice and flour mixed with polluted water in Bihar, amid hunger and diseases. Supaul district was the worst-hit by floods and surging waters swamped 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of farmlands, destroying wheat and paddy crops. [ [http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-35231420080829?sp=true reuters.com, Bihar villagers desperate as floods spread] ]

Relief Work

In response to the flood, Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek his help in dealing with the "catastrophe" cite news|url=http://www.ibnlive.com/news/bihar-flood-catastrophe-cm-seeks-govts-help/72143-3.html?from=rssfeed|title=Bihar flood 'catastrophe'; CM seeks Govt's help|date=08/26/2008|publisher=CNN IBN|accessdate=2008-08-26] . Relief work was carried with Indian Air Force helicopters dropping relief materials in the worst hit districts.

New York Times reported that it is the worst flood in the area in 50 years. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared a “national calamity” on 28 August and the government earmarked $ 230 million in aid for the region. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/world/asia/30india.html?ref=world nytimes.com, Floods in India May Displace Millions] ] The Indian army and non-government organizations operated the biggest flood rescue operation in India in more than 50 years. Mumbai Fire Brigade send its 22 member disaster management team to help in relief work. Many NGOs and organisations have started relief work and are looking for individual donations to help quickly meet the needs of the public. [ [http://blogs.mybandra.com/2008/09/04/bihar-floods Ways to donate to help Bihar Flood Victims] ]

1 September, describing the floods as a “disaster”, the Dalai Lama has given 1 million Rupees. to the Bihar Government for relief works. [ [http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=22719&article=Dalai+Lama+offers+prayers+and+donation+for+Bihar+flood+victims Dalai Lama offers prayers and donation for Bihar flood victims] ]

Administrative Lapse

SOS fax messages sent by the engineers at Kosi dam. They were not attended to by relevant official as he was on leave. No other officer was deputed to act on the fax messages and the messages have piled upon the bureaucrat's desk. Nitish Mishra, Bihar's disaster management minister acknowledged this and said action would be taken once all this is over. [http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Floods-have-pushed-Bihar-back-by-50-years/356893/]

Flood Information Management System

Recognising the need to have a comprehensive database on flood relief and rehabilitation work, a group of people from Planning Commission, along with a few professionals have started an online Bihar Flood Information management System. [ [http://biharfloods.osf.in Bihar Flood Information management System website] ] The website lists 70+ organisations involved in relief and rehab work in the state and gives their contact details, area of work, colletcion cnetres etc. It also has district profiles, details of relief camps and districtwise distribution of NGOs or organistaions at work.

ee also

*2008 Indian floods


External links

* [http://disastermgmt.bih.nic.in/ Disaster Management, Government of Bihar - Daily Updates]
* [http://www.biharfloods.osf.in Bihar Floods Information Management System]
* [http://www.bihartimes.com/biharfloods08.html Flood Ravaged Bihar (bihartimes.com) ]
* [http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/gentemplate_generic.aspx?template=kosi The Curse of Kosi (ndtv.com)]
* [http://www.hindustantimes.com/Fullcoverage/Fullcoverage.aspx?Special=Biharflood Sorrow of Bihar (hindustantimes.com)]
* [http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/asp/prod_free.asp?id=84 Satellite images of the effected area]
* [http://biharfloodrelief2008.blogspot.com/ Bihar Flood Relief - 2008]
* [http://biharflood.wordpress.com/ News and coordination for Bihar Flood Relief Activities]
* [http://biharbaadh.blogspot.com/ बिहार कोसी बाढ़]
* [http://mutiny.in/2008/08/30/bihar-flood-relief-operation/ Bihar Flood Relief Operation]
* [http://www.ifrc.org/Docs/News/08/08090401/index.asp?gclid=CNvk5ra54pUCFQxNegodeTs7ew Red Cross Society: Bihar Flood Relief]
* [http://biharfloodrelief.blogspot.com/ Bihar Flood Relief]

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