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Bihar seeks army’s help in flood relief

Patna, July 29: Bihar government has sought help from the Indian Army to bail it out of the flood situation triggered by heavy rain for the past 10 days.

“We have spoken to the (army) officers. The army has assured all help,” said the disaster management secretary, Manoj Shrivastav. “The government may ask the army and the air force to provide boats and helicopters,” he added.

Sources in the Bihar’s water resources department said navy motorboats and helicopters have been put on standby at the Gorakhpur Air Base in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh for relief operation.

In the northern districts, the situation has worsened with places receiving “record rainfall” this year.

The meteorological office here revealed that the recorded rainfall (from June 1, 2007,) has broken 30 years of record.

“The state has recorded 563mm rain against 488mm in 1977,” said a Met office spokesman.

Rain water has inundated over 500 villages in Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Supaul, Patna and Saharsa, Bhagalpur and West Champaran districts.

Officials of state’s flood control cell blame the swelling waters of Nepal rivers for the north Bihar floods.

At a flood relief operation conducted today, Governor R.S. Gawai monitored the proceedings. He directed the legislators from flood-affected areas to monitor the distribution of food and relief packages among the flood-hit people.

So far, the government has cancelled leaves of all officials posted in the flood-affected districts. Road and rail traffic has been disrupted at several places.

The road connecting Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur has been submerged, while train services were disrupted due to flooding of tracks in many places in Bhagalpur and Madhubani.

Dozens of Patna institutions have been temporarily closed due to the heavy rains. Apart from Patna, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi and Supaul schools and colleges have also been closed.

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