The flood situation in Odisha’s Mahanadi river system remained grim on Wednesday as over 4.67 lakh people in 12 districts were affected by the calamity, an official said.
Amid this situation, the administration braces up for the next spell of heavy rain from Thursday as forecast by the meteorological department, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said.
“The Wednesday night is considered crucial for the Mahanadi delta region as peak flood water will pass through Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Khurda districts. About 10 lakh cusec (cubic feet per second) of water will flow through the delta region which may inundate more villages,” he said.
How the flood has affected Odisha?
More than two lakh people in 10 districts were affected by the calamity on Tuesday when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked officers concerned to ensure "zero casualty" in the flood caused by heavy rainfall due to the week-long low pressure and depression.
Jena said that a population of over 2.26 lakh remained marooned in 425 villages while about 54,000 people have been evacuated and taken to temporary shelters so far.
The calamity has affected 1757 villages and 10 urban local bodies.
The state government said that though the water flow at Mundali barrage near Cuttack has slightly declined and reached 10.57 lakh cusec by 6 pm of Wednesday from 12 lakh cusec on Tuesday, a heavy spell of rain as forecast by IMD may add to the flood fury.
“Keeping the IMD forecast of heavy rainfall, we are preparing for the eventuality. However, with guarded discharge of water from Hirakud reservoir, the water flow could be contained within 10.5 lakh cusec,” B K Mishra, the chief engineer of Water Resources Department said.
He said the water level in Hirakud reservoir stands at 626.14 feet at 8 pm on Wednesday while its depth is 630 feet.
At least six breaches have been created in embankments of the Mahanadi and its tributaries while the officials could manage to plug rat holes in as many as 197 places, Mishra said.
Disaster management forces in action
With flood water inundating more villages, the state government has deployed more rescue teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and Odisha Fire Service.
Odisha Fire Service personnel rescued a 7-day-old baby and the mother from a very critical condition from Khetrapara Pradhan Sahi of Sundrpada in Bhubaneswar.
Similarly, the personnel of ODRAF rescued a father-son duo from an islet at Amangeikuda in Cuttack district, who was stranded there for four days due to the flood.
Meanwhile, the meteorological department has forecast heavy rainfall in 20 districts for Thursday and very heavy rain in 17 districts for Friday as a new low-pressure area is developing, the third in the past overnight.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP accused the ruling BJD of failing to implement proper water management in the Hirakud reservoir - the lone facility that controls floods in the biggest river in the coastal state.
BJP state unit president Samir Mohanty claimed that the present situation in the Mahanadi river system has arisen because of utter negligence by the Naveen Patnaik administration.
The flood-hit districts are Angul, Bargarh, Boudh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, Puri, Sambalpur and Subarnapur.
(With PTI Inputs)