The flood situation in Bihar worsened on Sunday, with many rivers breaching their banks and affecting hundreds of thousands of people, officials said.
More than 2.6 million people have been hit by the floods in the state including half a million who have been displaced across 12 districts, the officials said.
Bihar deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav visited the flood affected Supaul district on Sunday and said, “We are fully prepared to provide relief and rescue the affected people.”
Senior officials said relief and rescue operations were going on in full swing.
He said the flood situation was grim in some districts following rising water level in rivers.
The government has deployed 587 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force and the state disaster response force in the worst hit areas.
A water resources department official said 2,034 villages had been affected by the floods.
Of the five lakh people displaced till Sunday, nearly 2.50 lakh are living in different shelters.
“Thousands have taken shelter in higher areas, on national highways and in schools and other buildings,” an official said.
The government has set up 412 relief camps and deployed 1,019 boats in relief and rescue work.
The worst hit districts are Purnea, Kishanganj, Araria, Darbhanga, Madhepura, Katihar, Supaul and Saharsa.
Unconfirmed reports say at least 28 people, including women and children, have perished in the floods.
The authorities have asked people living in low-lying areas to move to higher ground.
Major rivers in the state including the Koshi, Gandak, Bagmati and Ganga are in spate following heavy rains, officials said.
“With heavy rainfall in the catchment areas in (neighbouring) Nepal, the water level of these rivers has been rising for several days,” one officer told IANS.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has ordered officials to survey the damage to houses, crops and other properties.
He has asked the health department to arrange for medicines to check the outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Officials said crops worth crores of rupees had been damaged. Road links have snapped at several places.
Bihar water resources development minister Lalan Singh said the eastern Kosi embankment, which had breached in 2008, was safe.
In 2008, more than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi breached its banks upstream in Nepal and changed course.