Orissa floods: Mahanadi in spate, 14 lakh affected
16 dead and an estimated 14 lakh people from over 2,600 villages affected; rescuers evacuate about one lakh marooned people.
Bhubaneswar: The flood situation in Orissa remained grim today with the Mahanadi River continuing to flow above the danger mark in the delta region, affecting 14 lakh people and snapping road links with about 1,000 villages.
An estimated 14 lakh people from over 2,600 villages have been affected by the floods which have left 16 dead, while rescuers evacuated about one lakh marooned people and sheltered them at safer places, official sources said.
Stepping up relief operations, the state government air-dropped food and other essentials with the help of three choppers. Following halt in rains in upper catchment area and reduced inflow, water level in Hirakud reservoir dropped marginally to 628.5 feet from more than 629.3 feet recorded yesterday, sources said. As a result, only 23 sluice gates of the Hirakud Dam were kept open to maintain balance. Both the inflow and outflow of water in the reservoir was maintained at 4,00,840 cusec, they said.
Though water started receding in submerged areas of Sambalpur, Sonepur, Boudh and Bargarh districts, floods in the entire Mahanadi River system in the delta region continued to play havoc as around 1,000 villages were completely cut off from the rest of the world, they said.
Water level at many places including Naraj, Jobra, Alipingala and Daleighai remained above the danger mark. Discharge of water into the sea may become difficult due to high tide on account of full moon day today, said a senior
official of water resources department. The situation is likely to improve by tomorrow in badly affected areas of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Jajpur, Puri and Nayagarh districts, official sources said.
Though water has started receding in some areas, rivers in the Mahanadi system continued to flow above the danger mark in many places in the delta region, they said. Several sorties were made by the three helicopters, two from the Indian Navy and one from Ministry of Home affairs, to drop relief materials in areas where the administration failed to reach due to snapping of road communication.
According to revenue and disaster management minister SN Patro, one more chopper is likely to join the air-dropping operation very soon. Personnel of Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were engaged in relief and rescue operation in the coastal districts. Nearly 200 relief camps and free kitchens have been opened for the flood affected.
Twenty-five breaches in the Mahanadi river system have inundated a large number of villages. Several areas on the outskirts of the state capital of Bhubaneswar were inundated by flood waters of Kuakhai and Daya rivers, sources said.
Following breaches and submergence of vast areas, several roads including Cuttack-Banki, Choudwar-Athgarh, Sathipur-Jajpur, Barchana-Balichandrapur, Tartol-Hansura, Rahama-Khosalpur, Tirtol-Kolar and Tirtol-Posal roads were cut off, they said. The water level in other major rivers like Subarnarekha,
Budhabalang, Baitarani, Brahmani, Bansadhara and Rushikulya was falling.
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