Rescue and relief operations intensified in flood ravaged Bihar

August 29th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

Patna , August 29 (ANI): Rescue and relief operations have been intensified in flood ravaged Bihar as millions await evacuation from the region.

More than 125,000 people have been reportedly evacuated from the flood hit areas so far, there are a million others who are still awaiting succor and relief across over 15 districts presenting a very grim situation.

Local media channels on Friday said that around 120,000 people have been shifted to safety.

The flooding, the worst in 50 years, was caused after the Kosi river breached a dam in Nepal from where it originates, unleashing huge waves of water that smashed mud embankments downstream in Bihar .

The waters of Kosi, known as Bihar’’s ”river of sorrow” for its regular floods and tendency to change course, gushed into the state inundating vast areas and affecting around two million people.

In Madhepura district, one of the worst affected, it has been in literal terms, a fight against the nature for survival.

Efforts are being made by the authorities to ease the suffering and misery of the people who have been surrounded by flood water for the past ten days now.

Relief material was dispatched for the flood affected areas from New Delhi on Friday.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced an assistance of rupees ten billion to Bihar for rescue and relief operations and 125,000 tonnes of food grains for the flood hit Bihar on Thursday.

The Prime Minister announced that more helicopters would be used to rescue villagers marooned in distant villages and assured more financial assistance.

Meanwhile, an all-party meeting to review relief and rescue operations in flood ravaged districts was held in Patna .

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that Supaul, Saharsa, Araria, Madhepura and Purnia districts are the worst affected and announced the formation of district-level coordination-cum-monitoring committee.

All the members of the state Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council would give their one month’’s salary towards the rescue and relief work, said Kumar.

Union Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who hails from Bihar , met Prime Minister and Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Friday and requested them to immediately release additional forces to step up relief work.

He also met the Union Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar to discuss the situation.

I met Prime Minister, Home Minister and Cabinet Secretary. I have told them that there are people in the affected areas who need immediate help, they need to press all the forces into action. The Prime Minister has given directives to the Cabinet Secretary to take action, said Yadav.

The United States announced a 100,000 dollar flood-relief package for the victims. Aid agencies, including UNICEF are in Bihar distributing food, clothes and medicines.

At least two million people have been forced from their homes and a quarter of a million houses destroyed. So far 55 deaths have been officially reported in Bihar , but activists and local media put the toll many times higher. (ANI)

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