Flood situation remained grim in the delta zone of Mahanadi river system in Odisha leaving vast areas marooned, 37 persons dead and affecting over 24.28 lakh people as the state government stepped up relief operation.
Despite marginal improvement in the flood scenario following respite from rains and sliding water level in some rivers, the situation in districts like Kendrapara and Puri still remained grim amid submergence of several areas, Deputy Relief Commissioner Prabhat Ranjan Mohapatra said.
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.
As rainfall in upper catchment areas of the river Mahanadi declined, 20 sluice gates of the Hirakud dam were closed in phases since yesterday. Now 30 gates are open for discharge of excess water from Hirakud reservoir as against 50 sluice gates used yesterday, Mohapatra said.
The water level in Hirakud reservoir stood at 626.54 feet as against its full capacity of 630 ft, he said adding 4,01,593 cusec of water was flowing into the reservoir while the outflow was 5,22,299 cusec.
The rainfall in upstream areas of Hirakud was recorded at 0.32 mm in the last 24 hours, while the volume of rainfall during the period stood at 0.26 mm in downstream areas.
The flow of water in Mahanadi through Mundali was recorded at around 11.12 lakh cusec this evening, he said adding that water level in Mahanadi was receding at Naraj as well as Alipingal.
Around 24.28 lakh people in 4,731 villages of 133 blocks in 1,257 gram panchayats spread over 23 districts have so far been affected due to the floods, SRC office said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who took an aerial view of flood affected areas of Cuttack, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Puri districts yesterday, has announced relief for seven days to the people in areas badly affected by floods.
"Though Mahanadi river is flowing above danger mark at several places, there is no threat of substantial damage as the flow of water has come down," Mohapatra said.
The death toll in floods and heavy rains in different parts of the state climbed to 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.
Around 74,000 of those who had been evacuated from low-lying areas to safety were sheltered in relief centres in 12 districts and about 210 kitchens were operating to provide them free cooked food, SRC office said.
As per preliminary assessment, 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 ravaged.
About a dozen 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) were also deployed in vulnerable areas. Fire brigade personnel were put on as stand by.
Mohapatra said there was no further threat of any major breach in the river system and flow in the Brahmani, Budhabalang and Subarnarekha rivers was also under control.
In Jagatsinghpur, several villages in Kujanga, Naugaon, Balikuda, Tirtol, Biridi blocks were affected, District Collector S K Mallick said.
As many as 20,785 people in 531 villages were affected for whom six relief camps were set up with provision for free cooked food, he said. So far 300 quintal rice and other relief materials including candles had reached the relief camps, he added.
Stating that the administration is now concentrating on relief operation, Mallick said around 15,821 acres of agriculture land remained submerged and the administration deployed ODRAF team, requisitioned 21 boats and engaged veterinary doctors.
In Banki block of Cuttack district, flood water of the Mahanadi had entered many villages as well as Banki town, severely affecting normal life, vehicular movement and business activities. Road links from Banki to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack were snapped.
In Puri district, a breach in the embankment of Daya river at Jorakani near Ghoradia had led to flooding in eight panchayats of Delang, Kanas and Jatni blocks. Around 13,000 people were affected in these areas of whom about 3000 had been evacuated to safe places, SRC office said.
A report from Boudh district said that 35 villages had been surrounded by the flood water of the Mahanadi that was flowing at a height of one-and-half feet.
In Bhadrak district, flood water of the Salandi river was flowing above the danger level at 17.40 feet at Rajghat but officials said there was no cause for worry.
A report from Kendrapada said a breach in the embankment of Luna river at Maharakul of Marsaghai block submerged many areas. Similarly, eight villages of Andara panchayat of Pattamundia block were surrounded by flood water of Brahmani following a breach in the embankment near a slum at Andara village of Pattamundai block.
The flood situation continued to be grim in the district as Luna, Chitrotpala and Paika rivers were in spate, it said.
In Jajpur district, flood water of the Brahmani and the Baitarani had started receding, Deputy Relief Commissioner Mohapatra said adding Aul and Rajkanika blocks of Kendrapara district and Delang, Kanas, Nimapara, Gop and Konark blocks in Puri district were badly affected by floods.
However, release of flood water from submerged areas into the sea is likely to be slow in view of full moon day on Sunday, SRC office said.