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Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 13:06 UK

Flood affects thousands in India

Flood victims in Bihar (File photo)
Many were left with nothing after last year's floods

Tens of thousands of people have been affected by floods in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, officials say.

More than 100 villages across Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur districts have been flooded by the surging waters of the Bagmati river.

Late on Sunday, a tributary of the river breached mud embankments at two places, causing fresh areas to be inundated with flood waters.

Last year, the Kosi river flooded causing havoc in Bihar.

Nearly 300 people along with many animals were swept away in the deluge and more than three million people were displaced.

Both the Kosi and Bagmati rivers originate in Nepal.

'Receding'

On Sunday, Bihar's Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas and held a meeting with the state's top officials.

"The flood victims would get free food grains, 2,000 rupees ($40) in cash and other relief materials like tarpaulin sheets immediately," Mr Kumar announced later.

The chief minister said the air-dropping of food packets was not necessary any more as the water level was receding.

Officials say two camps have been set up at Sitamarhi to provide shelter to those displaced by the floods.

Flood waters entered Sitamarhi on Saturday when the Bagmati breached a levee at the village of Tilaktajpur.

Officials say a probe has been ordered into the circumstances of how the levee - which was constructed a few months ago - was breached.

"Anyone found guilty will not be spared," the chief minister warned.

Meanwhile, engineers are trying to plug the breach and they say the work will be complete in a day or two.



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