Fear of floods haunts Bihar

Patna, July 13 (Calcutta Tube) With water entering dozens of villages and water levels rising in several rivers, the fear of floods is back in Bihar where people have started fleeing their homes in panic, officials said Tuesday.

Water levels in the Kosi, Gandak, Bodhi Gandak and Bagmati rivers increased after heavy rains in the state and the catchment areas of Nepal over the past two days, threatening hundreds of villages in Muzaffarpur, Purnea, Araria, Saharsa and Bagaha districts.

An official said water had already entered dozens of villages since Monday.

Reports reaching here said hundreds of people were fleeing their homes in Muzaffarpur, Saharsa and Purnea districts.

An official of the water resources department told IANS: ‘The water levels of rivers have been rising to dangerous levels at several places and putting pressure on the embankments.’

The Bihar government has alerted engineers and asked them to keep 24-hour vigil.

‘All engineers have been directed to be ready with necessary equipment and boulders to face any situation and to protect the embankments,’ an engineer said.

However, Bihar Water Resources Development Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said all embankments were safe and there was no need to panic.

He said the eastern Kosi embankment, which had breached in 2008 flooding five districts of northern Bihar, was totally safe. ‘The embankment was strengthened and breach repair work was completed.’

In 2008, more than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi river breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in Bihar in the last 50 years.

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