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UN to assist in relief operations in flood-hit Bihar

August 29, 2008 10:17 IST

The United Nations on Friday said that it has rushed its agencies to aid the government and independent bodies working to provide relief to the victims of floods in River Kosi on both Indian and Nepalese sides, where over one million people have been displaced from their homes.

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The floods, resulting from a breach in the eastern embankment on River Kosi, have engulfed hundreds of villages and destroyed more than 200,000 homes, the world body said, adding that the displaced will not be able to return until the embankment is repaired.

The UN Children's Fund said it is helping to alleviate the situation in Bihar where 1.4 million people have been affected by severe flooding. Meanwhile, some 55,000 Nepalese have been uprooted on the other side of the river, and UN agencies are mobilising aid to assist the displaced.

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UNICEF said roads have been damaged, while water and electricity have been disrupted. As railway tracks have been submerged, food and other essential supplies are being transported by boat.

It warned that camps housing the displaced could become overcrowded, increasing the likelihood of communicable diseases.

"Children are most at risk from diseases and suffer physical and mental distress from being moved from their homes to relief camps," said Patrick McCormick, a UNICEF official.

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The agency has carried out assessments in three of the hardest-hit districts, and has worked with the government and other partners to deliver much-needed supplies.

"UNICEF focuses its response on delivering life-saving supplies like medicines, drinking water and sanitation equipment to ward off the threat of disease amongst the affected children," McCormick said.

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