Patna, July 13 (IANS) After drought-like situation till last week, Bihar now fears floods as the water levels of several rivers have been rising following heavy rains in the past six days.
According to a state disaster department official here on Saturday, the rising water levels of Koshi, Gandak, Budhi Gandak, Ganga and Bagmati rivers are causing panic among the people living near the banks, said the official.
According to reports, hundreds of people have fled or are fleeing their homes in Supaul, Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, West Champaran, Araria and Kishanganj districts.
The Water Resources Department had issued a high alert in vulnerable districts, particularly bordering Nepal, said an official.
North Bihar districts received a record rainfall during the last 24 hours with East Champaran reporting 214.92 mm rain, Sitamarhi 154.55 mm and Muzaffatpur 125.15 mm, said a Meteorological Department officials.
In Motihari, district headquarters of East Champaran, incessant rainfall for the last four days caused waterlogging in the town. District Magistrate Raman Kumar had ordered closing of schools and other educational institutions till July 15, district disaster officer Anil Kumar said.
Schools have also been closed in Araria and Kishanganj districts in view of the threat of flood.
Though the rising water levels have raised pressure on embankments at several places, officials claimed they were safe and there was no need to panic. The state government has alerted engineers concerned and asked them to keep 24-hour vigil.
"All engineers have been directed to be ready with necessary equipment and boulders to face any situation and protect the embankments," an official of Water Resource Department said.
The government claimed that the eastern Kosi embankment, which was breached in 2008 causing sever flood in five districts of northern Bihar, was safe. "The embankment has been strengthened and breach repair work completed," said an official.
In 2008, more than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi river breached banks upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in Bihar in the last 50 years.