Thousands flee as Gandak threatens embankments
Patna: Thousands of people in Bihar`s Gopalganj district on Thursday fled their homes fearing floods as the Gandak river threatened to breach its embankments, officials said.
Officials from the state disaster department said the fear of Gandak had created panic in Gopalganj, about 160 km northwest of Patna.
Water Resources Department principal Secretary Ajay Nayak told a news agency over telephone that the situation was alarming and the breach "may take place anytime now as the crack has widened further".
WRD engineer-in-chief R Dayal, who is camping at the site, said that hundreds of labourers, machines and every other resource were being used to protect the embankments.
Officials said an evacuation drive was launched to shift people to safer areas. "More than one lakh people have been evacuated," an official said.
Meanwhile, the state government rushed National Disaster Response Force teams to Gopalganj and instructed the officials to be ready with boats and other rescue and relief materials like tents and polythene sheets.
The officials of the disaster department fear a repeat of Kosi floods. "Hundreds of villages will be affected by the breach in the embankments in Gopalgang and neighbouring Saran and Siwan districts," an official said.
In 2008, more than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in Bihar in 50 years.
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