Orissa fears flood situation to worsen

Last Updated: Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 22:09

Bhubaneswar: With 13.5 lakh cusec water
flowing through Mundali near Cuttack the flood situation in at
least 19 districts of Orissa, including the thickly populated
Mahanadi delta, is feared to worsen in the next two days even
as the death toll increased to eight on Saturday.

"The peak flood may be around 13.5 lakh cusec against
peak flood level of 15.82 lakh cusec recorded in 2008. This
situation is likely to continue for the next two days which
will be crucial," special relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra
said.
"The situation is critical as excess water from
Mahanadi river will not be released into the sea easily due to
the full moon on Monday. We are ready to face the
eventuality," he told reporters here.

A total 10.8 lakh people of 2550 villages in 19
districts had already been affected due to floods. While eight
people had died, three were missing.

Two deaths each were reported from Jajpur and
Mayurbhanj districts, while one death each took place in
Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Kendrapara and Sambalpur districts. Three
persons were swept away by flood waters in Nayagarh district
and are missing.

With flood waters entering low laying areas, 60,723
people in 11 districts were evacuated and provided shelter in
safe places, he said.

The state government said there was no major breach
anywhere though there were reports of inundation of the road
to Konark Sun Temple due to a breach in river Bhargavi in Puri
district.

Official sources said 10,560 houses have so far been
damaged.
Mohapatra said at least 152 relief camps with free
kitchens were opened in Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Boudh,
Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Mayurbhanj, Puri,
Sambalpur and Subarnapur districts.

A naval ship carrying a Chetak helicopter, relief
materials and defence crew had already left Vishakhapatanam
for Paradip.

"We have also decided to engage the MI-17 helicopter
stationed here ... Though MI-17 is meant for anti-Maoist
operations, we have sought permission from MHA for its use in
relief and rescue activities," he said.

The state government has also requested the defence
ministry to come to its rescue if the situation worsens,
Mohapatra said adding 1,400 boats including 200 mechanised
vessels were kept ready.

Orissa government has also issued directions to the
district collectors to close schools in their respective areas
in view of the situation.

Meanwhile, the entire coastal region in Mahanadi
delta is set to encounter severe flood as the water level at
Hirakud dam rose to 629.25 feet against its capacity of 630
feet.

In order to discharge excess water from the reservoir,
59 gates - 55 sluice and four crest gates were kept open since
yesterday, official sources said.

"About 500 weak points have been identified on river
banks and embankments, of which 28 may breach. Engineers and
experts have been sent there to keep vigil," he said.

There was slight respite due to reduced rainfall in
upper catchment of river Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh and less
downpour in downstream areas, he added.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 22:09

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