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Indian PM allocates $240 million to flood-hit Bihar

NEW DELHI, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Thursday he would allocate $240 million for rescue and relief operations following floods in northern India.

Heavy monsoon rains in the Indian state of Bihar spread throughout the state's 15 districts, leaving at least 55 people dead and forcing around 2.5 million to flee their homes.

More than 400 villages have been flooded and large areas of farmlands have been damaged since the Kosi River, known as the "Sorrow of Bihar," burst its banks.

The Indian prime minister has described the floods in the state as a "national calamity," and promised to send 125,000 tons of food grains to thousands hit by the disaster.

More than 1 million people have been evacuated to temporary camps and may stay there until March-April next year, according to state officials.

India's monsoon season, which usually occurs from early July to September, is vital for agriculture but regularly inflicts major destruction. So far this season, over 330 people have been killed by floods in India.

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