Monday, August 27, 2007

Death toll in Bihar floods crosses 500 mark

Over 500 people have perished in the current spell of floods in Bihar with fresh reports of 23 deaths from six flood-hit districts on Monday as nearly 20.5 million people continue to reel under the impact of floods in 20 districts.

State Disaster Management Department sources said 23 more deaths were reported from Darbhanga (09), Samastipur (04), Begusarai (02), East Champaran (04), Madhubani (02) and Muzaffarpur (02) during the past 24 hours, taking the toll to 501.

Darbhanga alone had so far accounted for the largest number of 98 deaths, followed by Samastipur (84), East Champaran (78), Muzaffarpur (51), Khagaria (50) and Begusarai (20).

Rest of the deaths were reported from flood-hit Supaul, West Champaran, Madhubani, Nalanda, Madhepura, Vaishali, Sitamarhi and Katihar districts.

Nearly 20.5 million people of 9,864 villages under 225 blocks were affected by floods in 20 flood-hit districts where standing crops worth over Rs 701.93 crore in 15.88 lakh hectares of land had been damaged, they said.

Besides over 4.01 lakh houses, the value of which was estimated to be Rs 431.52 crore, had been destroyed, they added.

Altogether 6,965 boats have been deployed for providing relief material to the affected people and evacuate the marooned villagers to safer places, sources said.

Around 9,93,470 marooned people had so far been evacuated while 1302 relief camps, 349 cattle camps and 538 medical team were working round-the-clock to provide succour to the flood-hit people, sources said.

The authorities had so far distributed 3,89,143 quintals wheat, 1,90,843 quintals rice, 101 quintals gram, 304.24 quintals salt, 46.55 quintals sattu, 12,723 quintals gur, besides Rs 30.17 crore cash, 1,47,842 match boxes, 1,97,515 candles and 2,30,17 metre polythene sheets among the people affected by floods, they said.

IAF helicopters had airdropped 70,796 ready food packets in the areas inaccessible by roads, they said.

According to Central Water Commission sources, the situation remained grim with some major rivers, though maintaining receding trends, flowing above the danger mark at certain points along their course.

Ganga was flowing 36 cm above the danger mark at Kahalgaon and water level of Burhi Gandak was still above the red mark at Sikandarpur (84 cm), Samastipur (249 cm), Rosera (218 cm) and Khagaria (24 cm).

Similarly, Bagmati was flowing 62 cm and 151 cm above the danger level at Begusarai and Hayaghat and Kosi was above the danger mark at Baltara (134 cm) and Kursela (84 cm), CWC sources said.

According to a report received from Muzaffarpur, a block development office Shailendra Nath, posted in Sakra, was attacked when he along with an additional collector visited Rukanpura village for making assessment of the flood situation.

Nath escaped with minor injury in the attack, the report said, adding an FIR was lodged with the Sakra police station against some people, including Ashok Rai, a ward councillor, in this connection.

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