Breaches all the way
Completion of the Hanuman Nagar barrage on March 31, 1963, was considered a feat. A few months later the first breach in the Kosi embankment happened near Dalwa village in Nepal, a few kilometres from the border with India. Celebrations for the completion of the project were still on when a section of the embankment was washed away on August 20. A retired line (secondary embankment), constructed to protect the western embankment, gave away the next day.
That year the engineers were lucky because the Kosi after breaking free fell into a nearby Sakardehi river, which joined the Kosi downstream in Supaul district of Bihar. The flood had affected only about 100 ha and displaced 92 people. The Kosi during the breach was carrying only 353,147 cusecs of water, much below the claimed capacity of 950,000 cusecs.
During the second breach in 1968, water in the Kosi had touched 913,000 cusecs. The embankment then broke at four places in Jamalpur in Bihar. Almost all the villages inside the embankments inhabited by over a million people were submerged and another 96 villages along the western embankment were submerged. In Khagaria, then a part of Munger district, 150 villages were inundated.
Since then breaches have occurred on the Kosi embankment six more times.