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Flood situation in Bihar Worsens

Flood situation in Bihar worsens as fresh areas go under water

With the water of river Kosi engulfing fresh areas in Bihar's North Eastern 16 districts, the flood situation in the state worsened on Sunday affecting more than 30 lakh people.

However, there was some good news for the first time since the region was gripped by the deluge about two weeks ago with a senior official saying the flood situation would improve as the flow of water from Nepal has come down.

Over 30 lakh people in 16 districts are in the grip of floods, with 23 lakh in worst-hit Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura and Araria districts alone.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said five army columns have been pressed into service for relief and rescue, while the state has requisitioned 25 more columns.

IAF helicopters and army columns deployed to assist the state government's flood fighting machinery continued relief and evacuation operations.

The floods caused by the breach in the eastern afflux embankment at upstream Kuaha village in Nepal on August 18 is the worst in the region.

The area was considered secure against the possibilities of floods after construction of hundreds of miles of embankments and Bheemnagar barrage more than four decades ago.

Though Disaster Management Additional Secretary Pratayaya Amrit said while over 4.75 lakh people have been evacuated, lakhs more were in dire need of being shifted to safer places.

Amrit said about two lakh people were taking shelter in 17 relief camps set up by the state governments and many more being run by non-government organisations (ngos).

Amrit said Nepal government had agreed to help India in taming the river which causes huge damage to infrastructure in Bihar.

Pratayaya said that following the request made by the state government, the Indian navy too agreed to send three companies of its force with 45 boats that would be deployed in the worst-affected blocks of Narpatganj and Chatapur blocks of Supual district.

He said the situation was fast improving and trapped people were being evacuated with the help of army and NGOs.

The state government has posted newly appointed IAS officers to oversee the relief and rescue operations and monitor the deployment of army as well as army boats.

Besides, evacuating the flood-affected people, the army and navy boats would also survey the areas to keep the burglars at bay in the flood-affected districts of east and northern parts of Bihar.

Pratayaya said "we with the help of army and navy, we will now be in a position to evacuate marooned people from six critical places -- Chatarpur, Triveniganj, Kumarkhand, Murliganj, Gwalpara, Bihariganj and Udakishunganj -- that have been identified as worst affected blocks."

"The crucial phase is over and our main aim is to provide relief and rescuing people as well as providing fodder to the cattle heads", Pratayaya said.

The turbulent Kosi had changed its course after breaching its embankment at Kusaha village in Nepal, 12 km upstream of Bheemnagar barrage, on 18th August affecting more than 30 lakh people.

Meanwhile, a Central Water Commission report said the major rivers including Ganga, Ghagra, Burhigandak, Bagmati, Kamalabalan, Kosi, Mahananda and Adhwara group of rivers were flowing above the danger mark and likely to cross the red mark at different places along their courses.

The met office on Sunday predicted that all the major rivers crossing through would witness scanty to moderate rains in their upper catchment areas.

Meanwhile, RJD president and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad who has announced a slew of measures for the flood victims, including an assistance of Rs 90 crore and running 17 pairs of special trains for the flood victims, has appealed to railwaymen to generously contribute to the Railway Minister's Welfare and Relief fund by donating one day's salary to mitigate the plight of lakhs of people affected by the floods.

Chief PRO East Central Railway, A K Chandra said the railways had set up a number of relief camps in flood affected districts of Madhepura, Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnia and Araria and flood victims besides, being provided food free of cost, were given proper medicare.

He said the railways have decided to run special trains between Saharsa-Patna and another between Patna and Purnia.

The CPRO said the ECR had decided to introduce three pairs of metre gauge trains to cater to the needs of flood victims of Purnia, Araria and other adjoining districts from Sunday.

The number of trains already plying on Purnia, Banmakhi and Biharigang section of the East Central railways would be raised from three pairs to five pairs from Monday.


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