Flood in Bihar, 2008: News covered by Gulf-based Newspapers


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Bihar Floods 2008: News Clips from the Gulf region

RAHBAR (Bihar Anjuman's NGO) joins hands with Imarat Shariah: Click for details


Najmul Hassan Najmi's Report

Pictures from RAHBAR's camp in Supaul


Interested in contributing?

RAHBAR's Relief camp

Video-clip from Reuters

Details of planned Relief activities

Gulf Newspapers coverage

Imarat Sharia's appeal

Imarat's Report from the region

Presentation on the devastation

Chief Minister's Appeal

Chapter-wise Fund Collection from members of Bihar Anjuman (Indian Rupees)

1 Qatar ----------
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Total 3,889,365

  Bihar floods: expats seek consulate help
By Sameera Aziz Saudi Gazette
Published: September 07, 2008

Indian expatriates have started a drive to collect relief aid for victims of Bihar floods, which have devastated the lives of more than three million people. Members of the Jeddah Chapter of the Bihar Anjuman (BA), a group of expatriates from Middle East, have appealed to the community to come forward to contribute funds, clothing and other materials like blanket, bedsheet etc.
According to government figures 2.6 million people in 14 districts of Bihar have been affected by the flooding, which has also affected parts of Nepal. The river Kosi broke through the bank and altered its path, flooding districts where people were unsuspecting of the disaster. According to assessment of the State Government, the damage amounts to Rs390.53 crores. Nearly 185 people have lost their lives so far.
“We agreed to collect fund and clothes to send to the needy before the end of Ramadan,” said Khalid Hashmi , a member of BA-Jeddah chapter.
“We have two options to send the collections: through cash and kind. One of our active members will check the matter in Bihar for processing the distribution in a proper way. We will send the same to our Patna Chapter in order to hand over to Imarat Sharaih,” he told Saudi Gazette.
“The funds that are sent through other sources hardly reach the Muslims. Imarat Shariah is a government approved agency for such activities,” said one of the founders of BA. “Donors can use Zakat Fund for Flood Victims for Relief or Assistance in the account number CD 55-1 of Imarat Shariah by The Jammu and Kashmir Bank of Phulwari Sharif Patna branch.
Imarat Shariah is a socio-religious organization of the Muslims belonging to the state of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa in particular and other parts of the Indian subcontinent in general, situated in the township of Phulwari Sharif, Patna, the Capital of Bihar (India).
“We are looking for the support of the Consulate and want to discuss how Indian Consulate can help us in collection and dispatching the collected material to Patna,” said Muhammad Qaisar, another member of BA in Jeddah.
However, the Indian Consulate in Jeddah showed fewer possibilities to organize any camp for the funding activity in Jeddah. “They will be allowed if it is feasible to collect the funds.
If they can get permission to collect the fund from relevant Saudi authorities, then we have to check the requirement of support, feasibility and need,” said B.S. Mubarak, consul for Press, Information and Haj.
The requirement and need for relief are too obvious and pressing to be checked at this moment.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an immediate assistance of Rs10 billion for rescue and relief operations as well as 125,000 tonnes food grain after an aerial survey along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi of the four most-seriously-hit districts - Supaul, Saharsa, Araria and Madhepura. The ministry of home affairs and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is also providing jointly some additional motorized boats for rescue operations, while the department of animal husbandry will provide assistance for the livestock affected by the floods.
“We are very sad to see this situation in Bihar. We should not follow the culture of silence”, commented Khalid Hashmi, who belongs to Nawadah District of Bihar and works as a Marketing Manager in Jeddah.
Mohammed Qaisar, an Executive secretary in Jeddah from Nalanda District of Bihar, said that after floodwaters recede the rehabilitation work will start. But before that the survival need of victims is food, shelter and clothes.
The population of Bihar is about 90 million and aid agencies assessed that about 5 millions people have been affected from the floods.
“Bihar community needs much more than sympathy,” said Aijaz Haque, a member of BA of Jeddah chapter.
Relief for Bihar flood-hit people
Arab News
JEDDAH: Bihar Anjuman, a group of Indian expatriates belonging to Bihar and Jharkhand, met here on Friday and decided to send used clothes and other relief materials to the flood-affected people of Bihar. Those interested in contributing to the noble cause may call any of the following people: Aijaz Haque (0551412437), Mohammed Qaiser (0506647822), Sarwar Salam (0503895624) and Khalid Hashmi (0504670297).

Bihar flood survivors struggle to keep afloat
By Pamela Raghunath, Correspondent
Published: September 05, 2008, 23:12

Mumbai: Relief workers in flood-ravaged Bihar are frantically pleading for more medicines, boats, helicopters, plastic sheets, pre-cooked food as well as volunteers.
Despite the flood situation in northern Bihar being well-covered in media, the reality "is beyond the imagination of many people as well as beyond the control of the authorities as well as agencies", says well-known Mumbai-based social activist Medha Patkar, who is presently in Bihar.
Patkar says after travelling from the worst-flooded areas in Purnea to Areria and then to Muraliganj in Madhepura district, it is that rescue operations are incredibly slow, she says.
The government began deploying the Army and Navy only on Monday, after a delay of 20 days.
Travelling with teams of relief workers from Mumbai and other parts of the country, she informs how in many villages like Kabilasa, Golaha, Bagulaha and Bistoria, where mostly Dalits, landless and small owners and Adivasis live, there is little relief work happening.
"People are surviving on the banks of the canals without food or plastic tents and yet not been declared flood-affected."
Lack of boats to ferry people to safer areas is a major problem, she says. The state will have to move in full force if it is keen to manage the disaster, she says.
Pavan Nair, who spent 30 years in the Army in its Corps of Engineers, and has considerable experience in rescue operations during floods in Bihar, told Gulf News, "The Central Government has declared that 350,000 bottles of water has been dispatched by train. This not matching even a single day's requirement."
Several of his suggestions for quick relief have been included in a letter Patkar wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

More than 800,000 rescued from India flood
Published: September 05, 2008, 14:45

Patna: Rescuers have brought to safety more than 800,000 people from flood-hit northern India, officials said on Friday.
However, up to 100,000 people were still believed to be trapped in flooded areas, said Bihar Disaster Management Minister Nitish Mishra.
Indian armed forces, other official bodies and aid groups have used boats to hunt for survivors, some of whom have spent up to two weeks trapped on roofs or high ground.
"A major part of evacuation is over with more than 800,000 people evacuated and shifted to safe places. About 280,000 of them are taking shelter at relief camps," Mishra said.
300,000 still stranded
Published: September 05, 2008, 00:20

Murliganj, Bihar: Rescuers struggled yesterday to evacuate the last 300,000 villagers still stranded in flood-ravaged northern India while delivering food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of people already living in relief camps.
Towns and villages home to about 1.2 million people have been flooded for more than two weeks after monsoon rains caused the Kosi River to burst its banks in neighbouring Nepal and turn hundreds of square metres of India's impoverished Bihar state into a giant lake, said Prataya Amrit, a top state disaster management official.
Authorities have already evacuated about 680,000 people from more than 800 villages in the past 10 days with the help of 3,500 soldiers and 500 navy personnel, Amrit said. More than one-third are living in government-run relief camps.
"We are in critical areas and hope to complete the evacuation of the remaining 300,000 people by this weekend," Amrit said, adding that 11 air force helicopters have dropped 70,000 food packets to the stranded villagers.
Authorities also rushed 900 doctors and set up 125 makeshift health centers in the worst-hit districts of Araria, Saharasa, Madhepura, Purnea and Supaul amid fears that crowded and unsanitary conditions could lead to outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhea and cholera, he said. Authorities have distributed more than 54,000 bottles and pouches of drinking water and 450,000 chlorine tablets to purify water, he said.
Indian relief workers scramble to provide aid to desperate flood victims
Published: September 02, 2008, 14:39

Bihar: Hungry villagers began to riot and desperate families swam for their lives as Indian troops and aid workers scrambled to reach hundreds of thousands of stranded flood victims on Tuesday in one of the country’s largest relief efforts.
Nearly half of the 1.2 million people left homeless when the Kosi River burst its banks in Nepal two weeks ago, spilling over north India's vast plains, had been rescued by Tuesday, said Prataya Amrit, a top disaster management official in Bihar state. Officials hoped to reach the rest in the next two days.
The massive relief effort was the first to deploy all three branches of India's military — the army, the navy, and the air force, Amrit said.
Despite stepped up relief efforts, new areas flooded and yet more villages were cut off. Stranded victims waded through neck-deep waters to reach safety.
Unicef and European Union aid workers joined in the operation as much as possible.
Relief centres have been set up across the region and thousands of people seeking refuge crammed into the buildings, with numbers expected to nearly double in the coming days.
The United Nations warned "the heat, combined with limited supplies of safe drinking water and poor hygiene conditions, poses a great risk of water- and vector-borne diseases."
Officials say the flooding is expected to continue until November when the last of the monsoon rains taper off. Only then will they be able to plug the breach in the Kosi River that is more than a kilometre wide and growing.
An official death toll has not been released, but estimates range from scores to thousands.
Villagers pray to swollen river
Published: September 03, 2008, 23:47

Patna: Left helpless and desperate by the wrath of the Kosi, hundreds of women in Bihar have turned to worshipping the river in the hope that it will relent and make the floods mitigate.
"Mother Kosi is angry, we are offering prayers to appease her," said Parbhawati Devi, a resident of a village between Saharsa and Madhepura, two of the worst affected districts.
With the Kosi showing no signs of receding two weeks after it breached its embankment in Nepal and flooded Bihar, forcing thousands to flee their homes, Hindu women are offering flowers, fruits, earthen lamps and vermilion to the river.
India, where people have learnt to brave the vagaries of nature for centuries, has a tradition of deifying its rivers and worshipping them.
The Kosi is known as Bihar's "River of Sorrow" for the havoc it can wreak.
Phulwa Devi and her mother-in-law Urmila Devi along with half a dozen women offered prayers and conducted rituals for half an hour at the river, hoping to make its waters recede.
"Pardon us, do not punish us any more," said one of them.
Folk songs
Women are also singing folk songs to make the Kosi river happy and requesting it not to harm people any more. "We are singing folk songs to help calm the angry Kosi," Urmila Devi, another housewife near Murliganj in Madhepura, said. Reports from Farbisganj in Araria district said special prayers are being offered to the river by hundreds of people. In some places, villagers are sacrificing goats and hens.
Muslims are also offering special prayers in mosques to seek the safety of flood-hit people.
More than 2.5 million people in 1,598 villages spread over 15 districts have been affected by the floods while at least 35 people have died.
Unlike annual floods, there is little hope that the waters of the Kosi will recede soon. The waters could be there till October and people have no option but to move to safer places, say officials.
The unrelenting floods have caused stress to many.
"We are severely traumatised by the possibility of the water entering our homes," 63-year-old retired engineer Mohammad Salim Mansoori said on phone from Purnea district.
"As an engineer of the Kosi river project, I have worked for years and am aware of its character and danger. The Kosi is notorious for changing its course."
Doctors rushed to flood-hit areas
Published: September 01, 2008, 23:54

Bihar: Indian authorities rushed doctors and medical equipment to flood-devastated northern India on Monday in a bid to ward off outbreaks of disease among the hundreds of thousands of victims crowding into relief camps, officials said.
Nearly half of the 1.2 million people who were left homeless when the Kosi River burst its banks, spilling over north India's vast plains two weeks ago, had been rescued by yesterday, and officials said they hope to reach the others in the next three days.
About 250,000 refugees were in government and relief agency camps, said Prataya Amrit, a top disaster management official in Bihar state, the scene of the flooding. The rest have taken shelter with family or friends.
But with the numbers in the camps expected to nearly double in the coming days, there were fears the crowded and often unsanitary conditions could lead to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.
Great risk
A United Nations statement warned that 'the heat, combined with limited supplies of safe drinking water and poor hygiene conditions, poses a great risk of water and vector-borne diseases.'
In one camp set up at a school in Saharsa district - one of the worst hit of the five flooded districts in Bihar - a nurse was trying to treat the sick armed with just one packet of paracetamol tablets.
"We have had 35 cases of diarrhea and fever today out of 800 people in the camp," said the nurse, Niru Kumari.
Saharsa is some 1,200 kilometres northeast of New Delhi, India's capital. Amrit, the disaster management official, said the situation would improve greatly in the coming days. "A lot of doctors have been moved and the Health Ministry is mobilising," said Amrit.
"I'm sure it will be worked out in a day or two." Officials from Unicef, the UN agency that focuses on children's' welfare, said the government was doing a good job getting food to the camps and bringing in doctors.
Adequate sanitation
"In some of the mega camps being built there is adequate sanitation, but those are not yet complete," said Mani Kumar, an emergency specialist with the agency. Kumar said the threat remained while people were in overcrowded temporary camps.
"We are monitoring the situation for outbreaks and are ready to rush in," he said. The agency has already distributed more than 500,000 water purification tablets and sachets of rehydration solution to treat diarrhea.
Adding to their troubles, the flood waters continued to rise, inundating some camps and cutting off access to others, particularly in the Supaul district near the border with Nepal. Late Sunday the main road leading to the area was washed away.
Officials say the flooding is expected to continue until November when the last of the monsoon rains taper off. Only then will they be able to plug a breach in the Kosi River that is more than a mile wide and growing.
Rescue operations
The Indian Army could have moved in much earlier in flood-ravaged Bihar to join in the relief and rescue operations, but were made to wait for six crucial days before being given the formal order on August 26, a senior army official has said.
Army troops had begun to move in to Patna on August 20, but were not given the orders to join in the rescue operations for six days - when all the while the waters of the Kosi continued to rise inexorably and swamp more villages in the state.
"The troops were waiting in Patna for the government's order for six days. But in those six days a lot of damage was caused," the army official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The Bihar government ordered the army deployment after its resident commissioner in Delhi met the cabinet secretary," the official added.
Currently 21 columns of the army, consisting of more than 2,000 personnel, are involved in relief operations and 16 more columns are waiting to be moved. The army has set up three nodal centres under the supervision of three Brigadiers at Danapur, Katihar and Khagaria in Bihar to man the operations.
India steps up relief operation for thousands of flood victims
Published: September 01, 2008, 10:54

Patna: Indian authorities stepped up rescue efforts for the hundreds of thousands of victims of severe flooding in the eastern state of Bihar on Monday.
The Kosi river broke through a dam in Nepal, swamping hundreds of villages in Bihar and displacing three million people from their homes.
Aid agencies criticised the government for not anticipating the disaster.
"Lessons from the past disasters should be kept in mind while planning response," ActionAid said in a statement. "A long-term comprehensive response is necessary to deal with relief, recovery and disaster preparedness."
The hundreds of thousands of villagers cut off due to the flood have been suffering from food shortages after using up existing food stocks.
The army stepped in to aid the rescue efforts, sending in extra troops, officials said.
Three naval companies have also been asked to help.
Hundreds of boats are being used to evacuate people but more are needed, while heavy rains over the past few days have hampered rescue and relief operations, officials said.
"Such is the extent of devastation that the forces deployed are proving too small," Pratyay Amrit, a senior state disaster management official, said on Monday.
More than 467,000 people have been evacuated so far, but there are thousands still marooned.

Rescue efforts tardy - survivors
Published: August 31, 2008, 23:30

Banmankhi, Triveniganj: Villagers in northeast India who fled their homes after a river shifted course causing huge floods said yesterday the rescue operation was failing and those left behind had been abandoned.
At a makeshift relief camp in the state of Bihar, flood survivors pleaded with officials to send help to relatives they believe are marooned on rooftops or on the few areas of higher ground still above water.
"I left my village 12 days ago when the waters first started to rise. I went out to find food for the cattle and ended up at this camp," said Shivnath Yadav, 70, as tears welled in his eyes.
"I haven't seen my family since. I want to get them out but no boats are going there. I don't know what they are eating, or what they are drinking.
"We need the rescue operation to find our families now. But there are not enough boats."
Shrawan Baitha, 28, last spoke to his wife by cellphone on Saturday, when she told him she was stuck with other family members on their roof in Ratanpatti village, just a few kilometres from the relief camp here.
She told him that his pregnant niece was experiencing labour pains, but he has been unable to get through to her since.
"They said the water had completely surrounded them," said Baitha, who said he has run from one local official to another begging for boats to be sent there before it is too late.
"Not one person from Ratanpatti has made it to this camp," he said.
Baitha said 14,000 people live in his village, and he prayed many had escaped soon after the floods began when the monsoon-swollen Kosi river first breached its banks on the Nepal border on August 18.
Authorities, meanwhile, took control of all private boats in flooded northern India as desperate villagers hijacked rescue vessels and looted food and other essentials while flooding spread to new areas along the Nepal border, officials said.
About 1.2 million people have been left homeless and scores killed in Bihar state in the two weeks since the Kosi river in neighbouring Nepal burst its banks, dramatically changing course and spilling billions of gallons of water into the plains of northern India.
Nearly 700,000 people have been marooned and an estimated 3 million affected in five districts of the state.
Authorities have evacuated 475,000 people and put nearly 170,000 in state-run relief camps, said Prataya Amrit, secretary of the state's disaster management department.
"The government has taken over all boats in the area," said Ravindra Prasad Singh, a Bihar state government official coordinating rescue work in Supaul district.
Singh said he has 41 boats at his disposal and 50 soldiers have joined the rescue operation in Supaul.
Officials struggling to help thousands affected by floods in eastern India
Published: August 31, 2008, 14:49

Patna: Rescue efforts to aid the millions of people affected by fierce flooding in eastern India have been hampered by heavy rain and bad weather, officials said on Sunday.
Authorities are struggling to provide the victims with sufficient food and aid, and have said more boats and rescuers will be needed to help the hundreds of thousands of people still marooned in remote villages.
"I can't say specifically how many people are still stranded in floods," Nitish Mishra, the state's disaster management minister said on Sunday.
"But their numbers are in lakhs (hundreds of thousands) and we require more resources, more boats, army and rescue efforts to evacuate them."
More than 1,000 people in South Asia have died since the monsoon began in June.
In Bihar, the toll rose to 90 on Sunday with five more people drowning overnight in separate districts.
At least 3 million people have been displaced and those figures could rise as heavy rain continued, officials said, adding that more than 350,000 people have been taken to safety over the past 11 days.
Relief teams struggle to get aid to millions of displaced villagers
Published: August 30, 2008, 23:47

Patna: Indian authorities, hampered by heavy rain and damaged roads, were struggling yesterday to get aid to millions of displaced villagers in the eastern state of Bihar, hit by the worst flooding in 50 years.
The Kosi river burst a dam in neighbouring Nepal earlier this month, deluging Bihar and drowning village after village in its path as authorities failed to evacuate millions in time.
About 85 people have been killed and more than two million displaced by floodwaters that have smashed houses and destroyed 100,000 hectares of farmland.
"Rains are killing our rescue and relief efforts," Bihar disaster management department minister Nitish Mishra said.
"Our helicopters were barely able to fly for most of the day yesterday as it continued raining heavily till 4 pm," he said.
On Friday, an overcrowded army boat carrying dozens of flood victims overturned in the swollen river, drowning at least 20 people and leaving 10 unaccounted for.
Some 350,000 people have been evacuated over the past 10 days and thousands are marooned, said Pratyay Amrit, a Bihar disaster management official.
Army officers were putting up sandbags and wire mesh along roads in an attempt to fix embankments and prevent the swift flowing river from inundating new areas, said a witness in the flood-hit district of Saharsa.
The witness also saw more than 1,000 people from nearby villages walking to the city, where they hoped to find food and shelter. Some villagers who chose to stay built temporary bamboo shelters on high ground, eating uncooked rice and flour mixed with polluted water.
"We keep sitting here the whole night and wondering what to do. How will life go on? Will we survive or not?" said Virender Kumar Saga.
Monsoon season
Floods have killed more than 1,000 people in South Asia since the monsoon began in June, mainly in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where 785 people died, and deaths were also reported in Nepal and Bangladesh.
"These are some of the worst floods in generations and they present a huge challenge for governments and humanitarian organisations," said Daniel Toole, Unicef's regional director for South Asia on Friday. He said more than 1,000 villages in 13 districts had been affected by the surging waters, which have caused extensive damage to roads and water and electricity supplies.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, flew over devastated areas by helicopter on Thursday and announced a total of $228 million (Dh837 million) in aid.
Villagers desperate as floods worsen
Published: August 29, 2008, 23:53

Patraghat: Villagers were eating uncooked rice and flour mixed with polluted water in an eastern Indian state, officials said on Friday, as hunger and diseases accompanied the worst-ever floods in 50 years.
The Kosi river burst a dam in neighbouring Nepal earlier this month and surged into Bihar state, swamping village after village as authorities failed to evacuate millions on time.
At least ten more people drowned overnight, raising the toll to 65, as the rising river waters smashed embankments and flooded vast areas in the eastern state, officials said.
More than two million people in distant villages in Bihar have been displaced and around a quarter of a million houses have been destroyed. Many have no means to cook food.
Thousands of people, with all their belongings on their heads, walked away from their flooded homes through narrow and submerged roads. Many children rode on their cows and buffaloes.
'We've lost everything'
"We've lost our homes, we've lost our clothes, we've lost everything," said Bijender, a villager walking along a road with his child.
"We are taking our children and leaving and we don't even know where we are going."
Water levels continued to rise amid heavy rains. The water could stay for around three months, increasing the risk of water-borne diseases.
Some experts blame the floods on heavier monsoon rains caused by global warming, while others say authorities have failed to take preventive measures and improve infrastructure.
"My hungry children are crying and we are eating raw rice without boiling it," said Amit Kumar from Supaul district, the worst hit by floods this year. Some are eating corn flour mixed with water to survive.
"I know how villagers are somehow managing to keep themselves alive by eating whatever food is available to them," Nitish Mishra, the state disaster management minister, said.
"It is not easy to distribute food to over two million displaced villagers, I know their condition."
Officials said bad weather and strong currents were preventing them from providing aid to remote areas.
Footage on television showed a woman crying and waving at her husband, who could not find a place in a boat that was evacuating villagers.
Another woman was seen hugging her child as dozens in waist-deep water pleaded with the boatman to rescue them.
Surging waters have swamped 100,000 hectares of farmlands, destroying wheat and paddy crops worth millions of rupees, officials said.
Helpless villagers have grabbed boats, planks or have taken refuge on rooftops to save themselves from floods. Some set their cattle loose before fleeing as the animals had gone without food for days.
Diseases such as diarrhoea were reported from many government-run camps in the state, which agencies like Unicef say was still way below the required standards. "The camps are not organised yet and we are receiving reports of diseases," said Mukesh Puri of Unicef.
Floods have killed more than 1,000 people in South Asia since the monsoon set in June, mainly in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where 725 people lost their lives and other deaths were reported from Nepal and Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, flew over devastated areas by helicopter on Thursday and announced $228 million as aid.
PM calls India floods a 'calamity', announces relief
Published: August 28, 2008, 18:17

Saharsa: Massive flooding in eastern India has caused a "national calamity", prime minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday, after touring the devastated region where more than a million remain trapped.
The premier surveyed the four most-seriously-hit districts - Supaul, Saharsa, Araria and Madhepura, in a helicopter with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Singh announced a relief package of 228 million dollars and 125,000 tonnes of grain for those affected when a monsoon-swollen river changed course, flooding huge swathes of the country's impoverished Bihar state.
"If there is a need for more, we will give more," he told reporters. "We would like to assure the people of Bihar that all India will support them through this difficulty."
At least 55 people are reported to have died and some two million displaced after the Kosi river breached its banks, changing course.
Army troops and air force helicopters rushed to help police in the rescue operation.
Thousands of residents abandoned their homes as the floodwater spread and many have taken shelter in crowded relief camps or in buildings on higher ground.
Bihar officials said the death toll could climb further as many areas were inaccessible.
Flood devastation in Bihar state
By Amarnath Tewary

Over a million people have been affected by floods in three districts of the northern Indian state of Bihar, officials say.
The banks of the Kosi river overflowed days after the part of the river in neighbouring Nepal breached an embankment there.
Bihar's districts of Supaul, Araria and Madhepura which border Nepal are the worst affected.
Floods in South Asia are common. About 28m people were affected last year.
Supplies by air
Officials say that crops on tens of thousands of hectares of land have been damaged by the Bihar floods.
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.

Delhi chapter (under the banner of RAHBAR) established its own camp, in Williams School of Supaul, the worst affected region, starting 15th September - they are providing Iftar and Suhoor directly to the people whose number has increased from 100 on the first day to more than 200 on the 4th day. This is a pilot project for RAHBAR. All expenses of the this relief camp will be borne by just one chapter. Rs. 45,000 has been transferred for this purpose on 10th September, 2008. View detailed budget for this relief camp. Budget has already been revised to Rs. 100,00 for this first phase [20 days x 200 people x Rs. 25 per person per day = Rs. 100,000]. For the 2nd phase, new clothes need to be supplied for Eid (as a pilot project, we would limit ourselves to Rs. 100,000). And a high budget rehabilitation program (construction of houses for those who have lost everything) will be launched, insha-Allah, as the 3rd phase after flood waters recede and an assessment survey is completed [Any amount for this phase may not be enough considering the damage caused, but we would limit ourselves to Rs. 50 lakhs or Rs. 5 million].