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2 million affected by Bihar floods

July 31, 2007

Nearly two million people, spread over eleven districts in Bihar, grimly endure a spell of floods with many major rivers, including the Ganga, Punpun, Bagmati, Gandak and Kosi, in spate.

The army is on standby as the flood situation in Bihar is likely to worsen.

The water levels of the rivers, already above the danger level, may rise further with heavy rain in their catchment areas and the Gangetic plains.

Around 25 people have lost their lives in the state. An ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 has been announced for the families of each victim. The Bihar government has cancelled the leave of its employees in the flood-hit districts.

The Danapur military cantonment near Patna has kept boats and helicopters ready to intensify relief and rescue operations.

Two army helicopters in Lucknow are ready to fly to the affected areas within 20 minutes of receiving an alert from the state government headquarters in Patna.

570 boats have already been pressed into service to evacuate the marooned people to safer places. Several relief and medical camps are functional in the affected districts.

Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Madhubani districts are the worst hit in this year's floods.

Five million people in Bihar were affected by floods in 2004. More than 675 people died in that catastrophe.

Image: Villagers struggle through floodwaters in Gaya. Photograph: Strdel/AFP/Getty Images

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