Military working to rescue people in flood-hit Bihar

September 1st, 2008 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Patna, Sep 1 (IANS) Relief and rescue operations were intensified in flood-hit Bihar Monday, with hundreds of defence personnel joining the administration in evacuating millions of marooned people, officials said.“All three wings of the defence forces are involved in evacuation of marooned people,” Prayaya Amrit, additional secretary of the state disaster management department, said.

Twenty-two columns of the defence forces, including 19 columns of the army and three columns of the navy have been involved in evacuation and relief operations, while six air force helicopters have been engaged in air-dropping of food packets.

“The state government has sought 25 more columns of the army for evacuating the people from flood hit districts,” an official said.

An official of the state disaster management department said Sunday that nearly 467,000 marooned people had been evacuated and over 150,000 people were sheltered in 172 relief camps.

The surging waters of the Kosi river continued to inundate more areas as hundreds of villages remained under water.

“The water level in the flooded areas rose by two to three feet in several places as the river inundated new areas of Saharsa, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura and Purnea districts,” an official said.

Over 2.5 million people in 1,598 villages spread over 15 districts have been affected by the floods, officials said.

The floods have claimed 35 lives, including 20 people who died Friday when the boat they were travelling in capsized in Madhepura.

The Kosi river, sometimes called the ‘Sorrow of Bihar’, changed its course after almost two centuries following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal. Unlike annual floods, there is little hope that the waters of the Kosi will recede soon.

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