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Flood situation grim in Bihar; Darbhanga worst-hit

Darbhanga town in Bihar is cut off from the rest of the country as flood waters submerge the roads and railway tracks.
Hindustan Times | By Amitabh Jha, Patna
UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2007 03:49 AM IST

Sustained rainfall over the last several days has led to flood waters entering Darbhanga town and snapping of transport links with the rest of the country on Sunday. Roads as well as the railway tracks to the town have been overtopped.

The airport and Bihar Military Police (BMP) base have also been inundated. About seven lakh people of the district have been affected, officials said. Floodwaters also entered Sitamarhi and Madhubani towns.

In Darbhanga floodwaters from the Bagmati have entered Kalighat, Shivajieenagar, Town Hall and Tower Chowk areas. Kamla water has inundated Allalpatti, Koshi Project, Lakshmisagar, Industrial Estate and Bela and Ranipur among other areas.

Thousands of people along with cattle have sought shelter on the LNMU, KSDSU, CM College campus a report from Darbhanga said. There is apprehension that the rising rivers will engulf the entire town before long.

Train services on the Jhanjharpur-Laukha, Jhanjharpur-Lohna, Nirmali-Ghoghardiha, Darbhanga-Narkatiaganj sections under the Samastipur division have been suspended following flood waters topping the tracks at several places, railway officials said.

With the already swollen Bagmati and Kamala Balan maintaining a steady rising trend trains services between Darbhanga and Samastipur were also likely be suspended, they said.

A road bridge at Aurai (Singhwara) on Muzaffarpur-Darbhanga route collapsed, complicating the task restoring traffic on the route. The bridge named after former minister Ghulam Sarwar was built in 2004.

Darbhanga's road communication with Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur and Madhubani was also snapped as flood waters of turbulent Bagmati and Kamala Balan submerged the roads at several places leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded at different places on the national highway to Muzaffarpur on the national highway, said government officials.

Around 25 people have so far lost their lives in the current spell of floods in and private and public property worth crores damaged.

According to the Water Resources Department all rivers between the Gandak and the Koshi are flowing 1.20 to 2.30 metres above the danger level. The Ganga has eroded the flood protection structure at Ramayanpur and is exerting tremendous at nearby places in Katihar district.

The situation is unlikely to improve soon as normal to light rains are expected to lash the catchment areas of all rivers flowing through the state including the Sone.

Water Resources Minister Ramashray Prasad Singh has directed the officials to maintain constant vigil in fighting the emergency and continue intensive patrolling of the embankments.

Apart from boats to evacuate the marooned population to safer places, several relief and medical camps were set up to provide help to the flood-hit people, disaster management department officials said.

Over 570 boats have been pressed into service to evacuate the marooned people to safer places, while several relief and medical camps were functional in the affected districts, including Sitamarhi Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, East and West Champaran, Saharsa, Supaul and Gopalganj to provide succour to the affected people, they said. Arrangements were being made for additional boats for helping the people in affected areas in the towns to reach safer places, they added.

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