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Orissa floods hit 14 lakh people

Flood in Mahanadi, Subarnarekha, Budhabalang and Baitarani rivers affected 14 lakh people in 19 of the 30 districts.

Bhubaneswar: Orissa government on Monday stepped up air-dropping of food packets as flood situation continued to be grim today with Mahanadi river flowing above the danger mark in delta region, affecting 14 lakh people and snapping
road links with about 1,000 villages.

Flood in Mahanadi, Subarnarekha, Budhabalang and Baitarani rivers affected 14 lakh people in 19 of the 30 districts of the state where 17 people were killed and 11
others are missing, officials said.

Of the 17 people killed, maximum five deaths were reported from Jajpur district followed by four in Kendrapara district, three in Mayurbhanj, two each in Dhenkanal and Sambalpur districts and one in Bhadrak district, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Mohapatra said.

With number of marooned villages rising to 1109 from 877 yesterday, the government stepped up relief operation by deploying four helicopters in completely cut off areas of Kendrapara, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik made an aerial survey over the flood-hit areas in western districts like Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Bolangir and announced seven days relief for the affected people.

Meanwhile, damage of 23,816 dwelling houses were reported from 11 districts while 1,48,011 persons had been evacuated from low laying areas to safe places and 270 relief camps, free kitchens were opened for affected people.

Besides four choppers to drop relief materials, 911 boats were engaged in rescue and relief operation.

Following halt in rains in upper catchment area and reduced inflow, water level in Hirakud reservoir dropped marginally to 628.43, officials said.

As a result only 16 sluice gates of the Hirakud Dam were kept open to maintain balance. Both the inflow and outflow of water in the reservoir was maintained within 3.5 lakh cusec, they said.

Though water started receding in submerged areas of Sambalpur, Sonepur, Boudh and Bargarh districts, floods in the entire Mahanadi River system in the delta region continued to play havoc.

Water level at many places including Naraj, Jobra, Alipingala and Daleighai remained above the danger mark.

However, they hope that the situation would improve by tomorrow in badly affected areas of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Jajpur, Puri and Nayagarh districts with discharge of water into the sea, Mohapatra said.

About 48 breaches in the Mahanadi river system have inundated a large number of villages, sources in water resources department said adding several areas on the
outskirts of the state capital of Bhubaneswar were inundated by flood waters of Kuakhai and Daya rivers.

Several roads including Cuttack-Banki, Choudwar-Athgarh, Sathipur-Jajpur, Barchana-Balichandrapur, Tartol-Hansura, Rahama-Khosalpur, Tirtol-Kolar and Tirtol-Posal roads were cut off due to breaches and submergence, they said.

The water level in other major rivers like Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Baitarani, Brahmani, Bansadhara and Rushikulya was falling.