NATIONAL

Flood toll in Bihar, Assam rises to 353

KOLKATA, JULY 24. The flood situation improved in some parts of the Eastern region today with water receding steadily even as the toll in the worst-hit States of Bihar and Assam increased to 353 with 15 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The recession of water eased the situation in several parts of Bihar, while the four northern districts continued to reel under the impact of the floods that has claimed 213 lives in the State so far. Five bodies were recovered in Samastipur district during the last 24 hours and officials in the Calamity Relief Department did not rule out the possibility of finding more bodies when the waters recede. The official toll is put at below 200.

Even as the Army and the IAF carried out rescue-and-relief operations, which entered the third week today, more than two million people in Kishanganj, Khagaria, and Purnia districts continued to reel under flood as swollen rivers of the Bagmati, the Noon, the Kareh, the Burhi Gandak and the Mahanda inundated most parts of the districts.

Assam toll 140

In Assam, floods threatened to affect the Saraighat bridge, the main connection between the North East and the rest of the country. Railway officials said they were carrying out a repair job as a small slab has been displaced from one approach on the rail-cum-road bridge. While trains are running on the bridge movement of heavy vehicles have been stopped for the time being.

Nearly 27 districts of Assam continued to reel under the deluge with the toll rising to 140 with 10 more deaths reported.

The Brahmaputra is receding except in Dibrugar and Morigaon.

Most of its tributaries and other rivers including the Dikhow in Sivsagar, the Dhunsiri in Golaghat and the Numaligarh, the Jia Bharali in Sonitpur, the Poagladiya in Nalbari, the Manas and the Beki in Barpeta and the Katakhal in Cachar are also rising again.

Rail services across the eastern and the north-eastern region have been disrupted and thousands were stranded in various railway stations. — UNI

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