Be it Kosi, Gandak, Ganga, Bagmati and other rivers, the water level has increased after heavy rain in the last few days. Thousands of people have started fleeing their homes in panic, a state disaster management department official said.

A high alert has been declared in vulnerable districts, particularly bordering Nepal,  by the water resources department. It has been done in view of the water entering hundreds of villages and the rising water level in several rivers, an official of the department said.

Meteorological department officials here said north Bihar districts received a record 200 mm of rainfall on Thursday and 175 mm on Friday. According to officials, the rising water level in the rivers is putting pressure on the embankments at several places. Reports reaching here said hundreds of people were fleeing their homes in Supaul, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Munger and Purnea districts.

The Bihar government has alerted engineers and asked them to keep a 24-hour vigil.

"All engineers have been directed to be ready with necessary equipment and boulders to face any situation and to protect the embankments," an engineer said.

Officials, however, said all embankments were safe and there was no need to panic.

The engineer said the eastern Kosi embankment, which had breached in 2008 flooding five districts of northern Bihar, was totally safe.

In 2008, over three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi river breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in the state in the last 50 years.

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