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Bihar floods affect nearly 10 million, toll 73
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna |
July 15, 2004 10:55 IST
Last Updated: July 15, 2004 12:23 IST
The death toll in the worst floods in Bihar in recent times, which has affected nearly 10 million people, was 73 till Thursday morning and reports of more people drowning continue to pour in from Samastipur, Darbhanga, East Champaran, Araria and Muzaffarpur districts.
Though the state government has put the toll at 32, even this figure is expected to rise as eight kanwarias (pilgrims returning from Haridwar) drowned in Samastipur and four persons drowned in Darbhanga district in the last 24 hours.
Major parts of northern and eastern Bihar bordering Nepal are inundated. The state government has sounded an alert in the worst hit districts, including Darbhanga, Samastipur, Seohar and Sitamarhi and termed the floods the worst since 1987.
The situation is likely to worsen because more rain has been forecast in the next 24 hours. Major rivers are flowing above the danger line with no signs of abating. Even River Ganga is showing a rising trend and is expected to cross the danger mark by Thursday night.
Chief Secretary K A H Subramaniam told rediff.com on Thursday that telecommunication links have been established with Sitamarhi and Seohar districts through satellite phones. Train services are out of gear in at least eight sections under the Samastipur division of East Central Railway.
The headquarters of five districts remained cut off from the state capital Patna following inundation of roads and railway tracks.
The army and Indian Air Force have been pressed into service to help the local administration rescue marooned people and airdrop of food packets in flood-hit areas.
Subramaniam also said that efforts are being made to rescue over 500 students of Navodaya Vidyalaya and 150 PG girl students of the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital who had to take shelter on the roof after water inundated their hostels.
Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi has demanded Rs 1,000 crore from the central government's National Calamity Contingency Fund for rescue and relief operations in the flood hit areas of the State.
Sources said the chief minister is likely to make a fresh demand on Thursday to the Centre to declare the floods in Bihar a natural calamity.