1 million cut off by monsoon floods in
The Associated Press,
PATNA, India - Authorities struggled Monday to get aid to more than 1 million people stranded by floods in a north Indian state, with one local government leader describing the situation as a catastrophe.
Air force helicopters and troops were trying to get food to people in the stricken areas of Bihar state that were inundated by flood waters last week after torrential rains caused the Kosi river in neighboring Nepal to burst its banks.
"It is not a normal flood, but a catastrophe," said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after making an aerial survey of the ravaged districts.
Kumar said more than 1 million people were cut off from the rest of the country because the floods had washed away roads and made railway lines impassable.
This year's monsoon has killed more than 330 people in
Officials said they were struggling to cope because the Kosi river changed its course after bursting its banks, flooding areas not usually affected by the seasonal monsoon.
"We are in for a long battle as the floods have come in areas which are not prone to it," said the state's Disaster Management Secretary Prataya Amrit. He said the areas lacked facilities and relief centers for dealing with floods.
Kumar said he had appealed to the Indian Embassy in
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
Flood devastation in
Over a million people have been affected by floods in three districts of the northern Indian state of
The banks of the Kosi river overflowed days after the part of the river in neighbouring
Supplies by air
Officials say that crops on tens of thousands of hectares of land have been damaged by the
Over 50 relief camps have been opened in the three affected districts, and Indian air force helicopters are dropping food packets in the area.
People in the area have taken refuge on embankments, highways, and buildings to escape the flood waters.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has described the floods as a "catastrophe".
Over 170 country boats have been pressed into service to rescue stranded people, and reach relief supplies.
However, the affected people say they have not been receiving any government help.
They chased away three senior legislators who had arrived in the area to meet flood victims during the weekend.
"All the relief material is being siphoned off by government officials," alleged farmer Kameshwar Prasad, who has taken shelter in a school in Supaul district.