Bhubaneswar: Flood situation turned grim in Odisha on Tuesday with water rising alarmingly in Mahanadi river system prompting the state government to step up rescue operation on a war footing with 23 people killed in rain and flood so far.
With several rivers including Mahanadi, Baitarani, Salandi and Jalaka flowing above danger marks, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the flood situation and held video conferencing with the Collectors of 13 districts.
Stating that Mahanadi river system was set to witness a major flood, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Mohapatra told reporters that over 12 lakh cusec water was likely to flow in the river at Munduli tomorrow following heavy rains in upper catchment areas.
The flood water of Mahanadi was expected to hit the delta region on Thursday, he said adding the chief minister had stressed the need for mounting strict vigil to ensure safety of river embankments.
As districts like Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Buodh, Khurda and Nayagarh were likely to be affected more due to flood in Mahanadi river system, the concerned authorities have been asked to be prepared, he said.
While a large number of people have already been evacuated from low-lying areas to safe places and free cooked food was being provided to over 17,000 affected persons, instruction was given to districts to evacuate villagers in time from areas facing floods, Mohapatra said.
As upper catchment areas of Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh received more rainfall, more sluice gates of Hirakud dam were likely to be opened, Mohapatra said. The water level in Hirakud reservoir stood at around 624 ft against its full capacity of 630 ft and now 17 gates were open.
Mahanadi was flowing at 26.50 metres at Naraj near Cuttack against the danger level of 26.41 mts, SRC office said, adding though around 9.87 lakh cusecs of water was now flowing in the river at Munduli and the volume would rise.
On the flood in river Baitarani, the SRC said the situation in Jajpur and Bhadrak district was grim at present but there would be considerable improvement soon.
The swollen Baitarani, which was rising at Akhuapada, has affected around 50,000 people in Jajpur district where over 2,000 persons have been evacuated to relief centres from marooned villages, he said.
The death toll due to rain and flood-related incidents during the current monsoon has mounted to 23, Mohapatra said, adding most of the casualties were due to drowning and wall collapse. While 14 people had died in earlier spell of rains and floods, nine deaths were reported since Saturday.
Flood situation in Bhadrak district was also grave, Mohapatra said adding relief materials including dry food and medicines have been made available in affected areas.
Jajpur District Collector Anil Samal said three blocks of Dasrathpur, Korei and Jajpur were worst hit but the administration was fully prepared to deal with the situation.
In Bhadrak district, about 40,000 people in around nine panchayats were affected by the swirling flood waters.
The water level in Baitarani stood at 41 metres as against the danger mark of 38.36 mts at Anandpur in Keonjhar district, while the river was flowing at 20.06 mts at Akhuapada where danger level is 17.83 mts, SRC office said.
The chief minister has underlined the need for proper deployment of medical teams in the flood affected areas, a CM office statement said adding stress would also be on making available safe drinking water and other relief materials.
The state government has already alerted 12 districts to gear up for any eventuality as the downpour over the past couple of days raised threat of flood in several rivers.
Collectors of Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Cuttack, Boudh, Nayagarh and Keonjhar districts were asked to remain alert.
A report from Balasore said a large number of people have been marooned in several villages of the district as water level in Jalaka, Kansabansa, and Sono rivers have crossed their danger levels and flood water have entered many areas. Two major rivers in Subarnarekha and Budhabalang were also gradually rising.
The MeT office said the low pressure over Gangetic West Bengal had yesterday intensified into a deep depression. Under its impact, rain and thundershower would occur at many places over Odisha.
While the intensity of rainfall subsided in many areas today, rainfall is likely to occur in Chhattisgarh which could raise water flow in Mahanadi river.
While fire service units were pressed for evacuation operation, over eight NDRF teams were sent to Keonjhar, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Puri districts to assist in rescue and relief work, official sources said.
Similarly, around 10 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units were deployed in Cuttack, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Bhadrak and Balasore districts, sources said.