Patna: Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by floods in Bihar, with many forced to flee their homes and struggling to survival under the open sky.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday carried out an aerial survey of the affected areas, saying the situation is under control and "there is no need to panic”.
His comment came after a survey of the worst-hit Bhagalpur district and other areas.
He said that officials were directed to speed up relief and rescue operations in flood affected 12 districts.
An official of the state disaster management department said that flood waters entered more than 1,000 villages under 350 panchayats and rising levels of most rivers threatened to inundate many others.
All the inundated villages were in districts Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Araria, Purnia, Saharsa, Darbhanga, Madhepura and Bagaha, officials said.
"Water entered these villages after levels rose in all the major rivers following heavy rains in the state and the catchment areas of Nepal," a water resource department official said.
According to the Central Water Commission, the water level in the Ganges crossed the red mark at several places. Similarly, the Kosi was flowing above the danger mark and Mahananda at other places.
Officials of the department said that standing crops worth crores of rupees have been damaged and road communication at several places has been snapped. "Rising rivers have badly hit paddy cultivation and destroyed standing banana and maize crops in Bhagalpur and other districts," he said.
Bihar Water Resources Development Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said all river embankments were safe and there was no need to panic.
In 2008, over 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 the state in the last 50 years.