Thousands marooned in Bihar as Kosi river breaches embankment (Lead)

August 26th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Aug 26 (IANS) Thousands perched on raised roads, railway tracks and canal embankments in Bihar after their homes were flooded by the swirling waters of the Kosi river that has swamped large swathes in Bihar following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal.The flood situation in Bihar has affected over two million people in 14 districts, but has turned alarming in Madhepura, Supaul and Araria districts. The Kosi breached an embankment near Kusaha in Nepal and forced the river to change its course, for the first time since the 1950s.

The flood situation is grim in the three districts that border Nepal and the state government has launched rescue and relief operations on a war footing.

R.K. Singh, principal secretary Disaster Management Department, said the government has deployed dozens of boats and army motor boats and also sought boats from other states to rescue marooned people. The government has deployed more army personnel to aid in rescue operations in Madhepura, Supaul and Araria.

According to reports from the three districts, angry flood victims protested the lack of relief supplies. Some legislators and officials of the district administration were abused and chased away by the irate crowds.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had to face an angry mob during a visit to flood hit areas in the last two days.

In view of the deteriorating flood situation in Madhepura, the state government has urged the central government to send the army for relief and rescue operations.

The floodwaters entered Madhepura town, posing a threat to inmates of the Madhepura Jail. Prison authorities have ordered the shifting of all inmates to the neighbouring Saharsa district jail.

According to state disaster management department sources, the other affected districts are Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Katihar, West Champaran, Patna, Nalanda, Khagaria, Sheikhpura, Purnia, Saran and Begusarai,

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