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Flood situation grim in Orissa; five killed

Flood situation in Orissa worsened with the release of more water downstream from Hirakud dam.

Bhubaneswar: Flood situation in Orissa
worsened on Friday with the release of more water downstream from
Hirakud dam, even as the state government sought choppers from
the Centre for relief and rescue operations in affected areas
where five persons have died so far.

A high alert has already been sounded in 11 districts of
the state.

"At least five persons have so far died due to flood,"
Water Resources secretary Suresh Mohapatra said, adding one
person each died in Kendrapara, Jajpur and Sambalpur district
while two were killed in Mayurbhanj district.

"Besides, three persons were reportedly swept away in
flood water in Nayagarh district. But their bodies have not
been recovered yet," he said.

Revenue and Disaster Management minister SN Patro, after
reviewing the flood situation, said, "Tonight and tomorrow is
crucial period for the state as about 13 lakh cusec flood
water will flow through Munduli near Cuttack."

The state government`s worries were doubled as water
level in Baitarani and Subarnarekha river systems was also
increasing though they showed declining trend yesterday, the
minister said describing the situation in Mahanadi river
system as a "high-flood".

Affirming that the situation in the Mahanadi system had
worsened due to heavy downpour in upper catchment areas of
Chhattishgarh, the minister said low pressure is gradually
moving towards Jharkhand.

Around 11.5 lakh cusec of water was flowing into Hirakud
due to rains in Chhattisgarh, with the water level touching
628.83 ft as against the reservoir level of 630 ft, Special
Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra said, adding that 59 gates
of the dam were opened to discharge the water.

There are 64 sluice gates and 34 crest gates at the dam
for discharge of excess water, the official said.

A high alert has already been sounded in 11 districts
while the government apprehends a severe flood threat in
Mahanadi delta area comprising four districts of Cuttack,
Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur, sources said.

In addition, districts like Nayagarh, Puri, Sambalpur,
Sonepur and Boudh would also be affected due to the flood in
Mahanadi river system, they said.

The government is ready to launch relief and rescue
operation, while arrangements were being made for air-dropping
food and other essential commodities.

Though there had been no breach of embankment in the
Mahanadi system, flood water rushed to 1437 villages spread
over 14 districts.

As per the reports received from collectors of Balasore,
Boudh, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur and
Subarnapur, the SRC said 3,797 people have been evacuated from
low laying areas to safer places and provided food assistance.

Twenty-nine relief camps and free kitchens were opened in
the inundated areas.

"We have been constantly monitoring the situation," Chief
Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters.

So far, 14 districts have reported to have witnessed low
flood. These are Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Boudh, Deogarh,
Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Kendtrapara, Mayurbhanj,
Nayagarh, Nupada, Sambalpur and Subarnapur.

About 6,34,526 persons were affected in the flood and
53,220 live stock casualty reported.

In 2008, 15.5 lakh cusec of water had flown through
Mundali as the flood left a trail of destruction causing 500
breaches on river and canal embankments, the water resources
secretary said.

"This time also about 500 weak points have been
identified on river banks and embankments, of which 28 are
highly vulnerable to breach. Senior engineers and experts
along with police force have been sent there to keep constant
vigil," he said.