Bihar floods a 'natural calamity'; PM aid 1000 cr

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Patna, Aug 28: Rs 1,000-crore as flood relief for Bihar, announced Manmohan Singh after PM and Sonia made an aerial survey of the left-over Bihar. Terming the floods as a natural calamity, Prime Minister also announced immediate release of 1.25 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains for the affected people.

Earlier in the day, PM and Sonia Gandhi alongwith Nitish Kumar, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Minister of State for Water Resource Jaiprakash Narain Yadav, BJP MP from Purnia Uday Singh and Araria MP Sukhdeo Paswan undertook aerial survey of Supaul, Saharsa, Araria and Madhepura districts. Kosi River has continued to unleash its fury in Bihar districts bordering Nepal, over 20 lakh people are bearing the brunt of floods. The Army was called out to help the marooned people.

According to the Central Water Commission, the Kosi, Ganga, Ghaghra, Punpun and Burhi Gandak were flowing above the danger level at several places along their course.

The flood have affected 15 districts - Muzaffarpur, Patna, Katihar, Nalanda, West Champaran, Khagaria Sheikhpura, Purnia, Saran, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura and Araria.

Acres of human habitation and farmlands are submerged in the waters of the Kosi river that has caused havoc by breaking its embankments upstream in Nepal and changing course, affecting around 2.5 million people in six districts of the state.

About one lakh marooned people have been evacuated so far, bulk of them by government boats and many on their own. Four helicopters and 200 country boats are working overtime to ferry the men and material to safe destinations.

Thousands evacuated from Eastern India

Indian army troops helped evacuate more than 120,000 people from floods in eastern India, but more bad weather raised fears that rivers would to continue to overflow, officials said on Thursday.

The flooding, which officials say are the worst in 50 years, was caused after the Kosi river broke a dam in Nepal where it originates, unleashing huge waves of water that smashed mud embankments downstream in Bihar state.

Many villagers offered prayers and slaughtered goats to appease the Kosi, known as Bihar's 'river of sorrow' for its regular floods and ability to change course.

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.

Stranded villagers complained of an unbearable stench from rotting carcasses and the United Nations warned of the spread of water-borne disease.

ANI

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