Friday 28 October 2016

Fresh Rains in Odisha Add to Flood Woes


Fresh rains triggered by a low pressure compounded the miseries of flood victims in Odisha.

"Though water receded in several rivers, the plight of people sheltered on high river embankments and other places have worsened due to fresh rainfall," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.

Different parts of the state, mainly falling in northern region, were lashed by rains since last night, while water level in rivers like Mahanadi and Baitarani went down, he said.

The fresh rainfall caused by low pressure is unlikely to aggravate the flood scenario as it would be confined mainly to northern districts like Mayurbhanj, the SRC said.

Rain and thundershower would occur at most places over north Odisha and a few places over southern parts 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 in next 24 hours, the MeT office said adding gusty surface wind speed from 35 kmph to 55 kmph may prevail along and off the Odisha Coast. Fishermen are advised to be cautious while venturing into the sea.

Around 28.58 lakh people in 4,951 villages of 134 blocks in 1300 gram panchayats spread over 23 districts have so far been affected in the floods, it said.

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

Over 1.59 lakh people have taken shelter on river embankments and other high places for whom 204 free kitchens are operating to provide cooked food, it said adding number of such people was high in Cuttack and Puri districts.

While 38 breaches have occurred at different places, around 3.36 lakh people in 526 villages were still marooned due to submerging of vast areas, it said.

As many as 140 wards in 27 urban local bodies areas have also been affected due to flood and heavy rains.

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, 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 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. The situation in 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, SRC office said.

Howevewr, two breaches in Paika river embankment in Jagatsinghpur inundated several villages in Kujang and Tirtol areas, it said.

Preliminary assessment showed around 24,800 houses have been damaged in the floods which affected crops in over 2,69,765 hectares of agriculture field, sources in the SRC office said, adding reports of about 96 livestock casualties have been received so far.

The total number of live stock affected due to the floods stood at around 65.8 lakh, it said.

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) are also deployed in vulnerable areas. Fire brigade personnel are put on stand by.

Release of flood water from submerged areas into the sea was slow as tomorrow happens to be full moon day, officials said.

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