Flood claims 24 lives; situation in north Bihar remains grim

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Patna, Aug 23 (UNI) At least 24 people have died since yesterday, as the overall situation in ten flood-ravaged districts of north Bihar continued to remain grim today.

Official sources quoting the state Flood Control Division here said while maximum eight people, including some children, had lost their lives in the flood-battered Madhepura district last night, six died in Bhagalpur, four in West Champaran and three each in Purnia and Samstipur districts since yesterday.

The overall flood situation in some of the districts deteriorated further following multiple breaches in the embankments of the Kosi in the lower regions of Nepal and was flowing above the danger mark.

As a number of major rivers, including the Mahananda, Gandak and the Ganges, continued flowing over the danger mark for the past few days, large areas of Supopul, Araria, Madehpura, Katihar, Purnea, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Bhagalpur, Samstipur and Madubani districts had been flooded rendering more than six million people homeless.

Standing crops worth several hundreds crore of rupees had also been damaged, the sources added.

In the wake of the seriousness of the situation, the state government had called out the Army to assist the civil authorities in the worst-affected areas and pressed into service five IAF helicopters for air-dropping of food packets and relief materials to the marooned people.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar after conducting an aerial survey of several flood-affected districts, directed three senior Ministers to camp in Supoul, Araria and Madepura district headquarters to monitor the rescue and relief operations till the situation improves.

Reports from various districts suggested that more than 700 villages had so far been affected by the current fury of flash floods causing immense misery to lakhs of people.

However, all out efforts were being made to distribute food packets and relief materials to the affected people.

A large number of countrymade boats had also been deployed to reach succour to the flood-hit people, the sources stated.

Eds: Pls pick up suitably from earlier series.

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