Air Force choppers drop relief material in flood-hit Bihar

August 21st, 2008 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Aug 21 (IANS) Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters Thursday dropped relief materials, including food packets, in Bihar’s flood affected districts, an official said.Thousands of people were rendered homeless in the state by floods triggered by heavy rains and breaches in barrages and embankments. But the overall flood situation worsened Thursday.

An official in the state disaster management department said that the IAF helicopters started dropping food packets and other essential items to the marooned people in Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura and Araria districts.

“The air dropping of relief materials finally began a day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took a decision to engage IAF helicopters following an aerial survey of the flood-hit districts Wednesday,” the official said.

Kumar reviewed the flood situation with top officials twice in the last two days.

The government has also decided to deploy personnel of the National Disaster Management Force in the rescue operations.

“Nearly 60 personnel of National Disaster Management Force will reach Bihar by Thursday evening to join the rescue operations along with Special Auxiliary Police personnel in Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura and Araria districts, which are worst hit by the floods,” said an official.

The government has also deputed two Indian Administrative Service officers, two additional district magistrate rank officers and three deputy superintendents of police to oversee the relief and rescue operations.

Two days after a breach developed in the Kosi barrage upstream in neighbouring Nepal, the flood situation remained grim in some bordering districts of Bihar.

The state government has sounded red alert in districts that are considered to be flood prone.

“Floodwaters entered several villages in Forbesganj in Araria, Purnea and Supaul districts Wednesday,” an official said.

A breach developed Tuesday in the Khairpur embankment in Bhagalpur that forced hundreds of people to flee.

Officials said that the flood situation is grim in over 850 villages in 11 districts - Muzaffarapur, Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura, Katihar, Araria, West Champaran, Khagaria, Sitamarhi, Patna and Nalanda.

Over 700,000 people were affected by the floods in the state, claiming 30 lives so far.

Major rivers, including the Ganga, Punpun, Ghaghra, Burhigandak, Bagmati, Kosi and Mahananda, were flowing above the danger mark at several places.

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