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Fresh rains in Odisha add to flood woes

Receding flood water of Kuakhai River draining through Kusabhadra and Dhanua, severing road communication between Bhinagarpur and Satyabhamapur in Khordha district of Odisha on Friday. Photo: Lingaraj Panda  

Plight of the flood-hit in Odisha was compounded by fresh rains triggered by low pressure though water level receded slowly after claiming 37 lives and affecting over 24.28 lakh people, relief department officials said.

“Water level is receding in many rivers but the woes of people who have taken shelter on high river embankments and other places have been multiplied due to fresh rainfall,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P.K. Mohapatra said.

While water level in rivers including Mahanadi and Baitarani had come down, different parts of the State, mainly northern region, have been lashed by rainfall of low intensity since Friday night, he said.

Rain and thundershower would occur at most places over north Odisha and a few places over southern parts of the state during next 24 hours under the influence of low pressure, Director of local Meteorological centre, Sarat Sahu said.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over north Odisha during next 24 hours, the MeT office said adding gusty surface wind speed from 35 kmph to 55 kmph may prevail along and off Odisha Coast.

Fishermen are advised to be cautious while venturing into the sea.

Over 1.35 lakh people have taken shelter on river embankments and other high places for whom 209 free kitchens are operating to provide cooked food, the SRC said, adding the number of such people was high in Cuttack and Puri districts.

While 38 breaches have occurred at different places, around 3.6 lakh people in 532 villages were still marooned due to submergence of vast areas, he said.

Water level in Hirakud reservoir on Mahanadi River stood at 626.10 feet and 24 sluice gates were now kept open for discharge of excess water, Mr. Mohapatra said.

Flow of water in river Mahanadi through Mundali barrage has come down to about 10.34 lakh cusec from around 11.4 lakh cusec yesterday, SRC office said, adding inflow at Hirakud reservoir stood at about 3.4 lakh cusec while outflow of water was around 4.3 lakh cusec.

Despite recession of water, flood situation still remained grim in the delta zone of Mahanadi river system amid fresh rains and inundation of many areas as the state government stepped up relief operation, it said, adding the situation in districts like Kendrapara and Puri remained grim.

The government has announced relief for seven days to the people in areas badly affected by floods.

Following receding water level in the river Baitarani and its tributaries, the situation in Jajpur and Bhadrak districts had started improving though many areas still remained inundated, he said.

Around 24.28 lakh people in 4,731 villages of 133 blocks spread over 23 districts have so far been affected due to the floods, it said.

The death toll in floods and heavy rains in different parts of the State stood at 37, SRC office said, adding most of the casualties were due to drowning and wall collapse.

As many as 30 small breaches occurred in embankments and around 16.3 lakh people in 830 villages were left marooned by this evening. Steps would be taken to repair the breaches soon after the water receded, it said.

Preliminary assessment showed around 23,600 houses have been damaged in the floods which affected crops in over 2,44,971 hectares of agriculture field, sources in the SRC office said, adding reports of about 90 livestock casualties have been received so far.

The total number of live stock affected due to the floods stood at around 57.37 lakh, it said.

As many as 138 wards in 27 urban local bodies areas have been affected due to floods and heavy rains with western Odisha city of Sambalpur badly hit.

About a dozen National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been mobilised in Keonjhar, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Puri districts to assist in rescue and relief operation. Over 184 boats were engaged in the operation.

Around 30 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) are also deployed in vulnerable areas. Fire brigade personnel are put on stand by.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 2:57:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/fresh-rains-in-odisha-due-to-low-pressure-add-to-flood-woes/article6299072.ece

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