BHUBANESWAR: Over 3 lakh people in three coastal districts of Bhadrak, Jajpur and Kendrapara have been severely affected Saturday as the swirling water of the Baitarani river entered several villages and inundated large swathes of farm land, officials said.
Though the Baitarani water submerged many agricultural fields in Keonjhar district, it has not affected the people living in the river bank, official sources said.
However, the flood situation remained grim in four blocks of Jajpur district, four blocks in Bhadrak and two blocks in Kendrapara district, sources in the special relief commissioner's office here said.
Meanwhile, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast said Saturday that heavy rainfall along with thunderstorm is likely to occur at one or two places over Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts in 24 hours.
According to sources in water resources department, the Baitarani river was flowing above the danger mark at Akhuapada in Bhadrak district. As against the danger level of 17.83 metres, the water was flowing at a height of 18.08 metres at 7 pm Saturday.
The water level at Anandapur, however, showed a falling trend and was flowing at 37.45 metre against the danger level of 38.36 metre.
The water crossed the embankments and entered 122 villages of Bhandaripokhari, Dhamnagar, Tihidi and Bhadrak blocks. Road links between Bhandaripokhari and Jajpur have been cut off due to overflowing of the river at a height of about two feet over the Sarta bridge at Malada.
Road communication from Aradi to Jajpur and Bhadrak has been disrupted, the sources said.
Several hectares of paddy field in Aradi, Sundarpur, Nandapur and Olagi panchayats in Chandbali tehsil have been submerged.
Around 1,71,365 people in Bhadrak district have been hit as the water rushed into their villages, the SRC office said.
In Jajpur district, the water of Baitarani has entered 69 villages in Dasarathpurm, Korei and Jajpur blocks. Dasarathpur has been the worst-affected block in Jajpur district, it said.
Similarly, nine blocks and two urban local bodies in Kendrapara district have been affected as Baitarani water entered the villages.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said the district collectors of Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Keonjhar have been put on alert and instructed to undertake evacuation of people living in the low-laying areas.
The Emergency Operation Centres in the state and district levels along with line departments are functioning round-the-clock, he said.
He said the district collectors have also been asked to deploy units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for relief and rescue operations.
Besides, ices personnel are also on standby in these four districts, Sethi said.
He said cooked food and safe drinking water besides health arrangements have been readied by the collectors in multi-purpose cyclone shelters.
The SRC said Jajpur district administration had evacuated 3,860 flood-hit people in Binjharpur Block and set up free kitchens in Binjharpur, Dasarathpur Blocks and in Jajpur Municipality.
Revenue and Disaster Management minister Maheswar Mohanty said the second Saturday and Sunday holidays of the field functionaries have been cancelled in view
of the floods.