He also directed the Disaster Management Department to be fully prepared for relief and rescue operations. He also chaired a high-level meeting to review the situation following heavy rain in the state and the catchment areas of Nepal that has created the fear of floods in many villages, an official in the Chief Minister's office said.

"Nitish Kumar has ordered officials to keep round-the-clock vigil on all embankments," he added. The rising water level in the rivers is putting pressure on the embankments at several places. The Chief Minister has also asked top officials of the Disaster Management Department to be prepared to face a flood-like situation.

According to officials of the Water Resources Department, the water level has increased in Kosi, Gandak, Ganga, Bagmati and other rivers after heavy rain in the last few days. "Thousands of people have started fleeing their homes in panic," a Disaster Management Department official stated.

A high alert has been declared in vulnerable districts, particularly those bordering Nepal, by the Water Resources Department. Meteorological Department officials here said north Bihar districts received a record 200 mm of rainfall on August 20 and 175 mm on August 21. An engineer working along the eastern Kosi embankment, however said that it was safe.

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