Over five lakh flood victims shifted to safer places: Nitish

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Patna, Sep 1 (UNI) Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said more than 5 lakh flood victims have already been evacuated from the flood ravaged areas in north Bihar and those stranded in far-flung areas would be shifted to safer places within three days.

'' Providing relief to flood victims and shifting them to safer areas were the government's top priorities,'' Mr Kumar told newspersons here after meeting members of the National Disaster Management Authority, led by its vice-chairman General N C Vij.

Mr Kumar said mega relief camps equipped with all basic amenities, were being set up at safer places in the flood ravaged areas where flood victims could take shelter for longer period, even for six months, if the situation so warranted.

Later, Principal Secretary of the state Disaster Management Department R K Singh said, ''15 columns of Army and three columns of Navy had been pressed into service for carrying out the relief and rescue operation in north Bihar.'' '' Distribution of relief materials among the flood victims have gained momentum as 1301 boats, including 137 motorised boats and nine helicopters, were engaged in the flood ravaged areas for the purpose,'' he said, adding more than 1.60 lakhs food packets had been distributed among the victims so far.

Altogether, 395 jawans had been deployed in far-flung inundated areas to rescue the trapped victims, he informed.

Asked about the number of flood victims evacuated so far, Mr Singh said 5.37 lakhs people had been shifted to safer places and the rest would be taken out from the flooded areas within three days.

''Altogether, 40 to 50 thousand people were being shifted to safer places per day and the evacuation drive would be completed within three days,'' he said, adding that patrolling would also be intensified in the evacuated areas to protect the property of the flood victims who had been shifted to relief camps from their native villages.

''A total number of 198 relief camps, 86 medical camps and 61 cattle camps were set up in the flood ravaged areas,'' Mr Singh said adding, 2.06916 lakhs victims were taking shelter in relief camps.

He said steps had been taken to ensure distribution of 1.25 lakhs food grains among the flood victims allotted by the Centre.

The dry fodder to the tune of 1200 Metric Tonnes would be sent to flood affected district to mitigate the suffering of cattle owners, he added.

UNI KKS-RS KK AE HT1930

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