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Bihar flood situation grim, death toll 78
July 18, 2004 15:49 IST
The overall flood situation in Bihar on Sunday continued to remain grim with swollen rivers inundating fresh areas and railway tracks at several places while the death toll mounted to 78 with reports of 10 more deaths from Darbhanga, Madhubani and Khagaria districts.
A report from Darbhanga district said five persons, including two newly wed couple, died in the past 48 hours when a country boat they were using to flee to safer areas capsized in Bagmati River near Sobhan village. There were 20 people on the boat out of which 10 swam to safety, five died and as many still missing, officials said.
Latest reports said flood waters have started receding from Darbhanga town.
A report from Madhubani district said that three persons drowned in flood waters in the Rajnagar block on Saturday. Two deaths were reported from Khagaria district on Saturday.
The worst hit Sitamarhi district accounted for 22 deaths, 15 deaths were reported from Darbhanga, Sheohar (7), East Champaran (8), Araria (7), Samastipur (3), Muzaffarpur (6), Madhubani (3), Supaul, Madhepura and Khagaria two each and Saharsa (1).
The turbulent Bagmati River broke the embankment at Parbane village inundating many villages in Alauli block, a report from Khagaria district said.
With flood waters inundating tracks, train services have been halted in the Khagaria-Samastipur section of East Central Railway.
Amid looming danger of flood water entering Khagaria town, many senior district officers, including the District Magistrate, have vacated their official residences.
Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday undertook an aerial survey of flood-affected areas in Samastipur, Khagaria and other districts. He had been visiting flood-affected areas on chopper for the past three days.
Chief Minister Rabri Devi reviewed relief work and directed District Magistrates of the flooded districts to speed up relief work by engaging private boats, official sources said.
A report from Muzaffarpur district said flood waters of the Burhigandak River have submerged Siho and Dholi railway stations on the Samastipur-Muzaffarpur section. A special relief train was sent to evacuate the marooned railway employees of the two stations. A team of Railway Board officials are in the state to assess the damage caused to railway tracks.
The Rajendra Agriculture University at Pusa in Samastipur continued to be flooded. Nearly 1,500 students and staff, including Vice-Chancellor Sita Ram Singh, are stranded in the campus. The university hostel has enough food stock and essential items to last for a month.
According to sources in the Disaster Management Department, over one crore people in 17 districts have been affected by the floods.
Sources in the Relief and Rehabilitation Department said standing crop worth Rs 14.86 crore has been damaged in floods.
During an all-party meeting on floods, the chief minister announced suspension of recovery of cooperative loans given to farmers in the flood-affected areas in view of the damage caused to the crops.
The 17 flood-hit districts are: