Odisha faces flood-like situation, NDRF and Rapid Action Force on standby

With water level continuing to rise in major rivers of the state, including Mahanadi, Brahmani and Subarnarekha, a medium to large scale flood is expected in coastal Odisha even as floodwaters wreaked havoc in Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore districts, officials said on Friday.

Jyotirmaya Rath, engineer-in-chief, water resources department, said around 200 mm average rainfall was recorded in the upper catchment areas of Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh in the last 24 hours, 40 sluice gates from the Hirakud reservoir in Sambalpur district have been opened.

As many as 1,276 villages of 54 blocks in 10 districts – Angul, Bolangir, Balasore, Boudh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Nuapada, Deogarh and Sonepur – have been affected by the floods. Nearly, 3, 83,046 people in 552 villages are now marooned and 2,757 houses have been damaged, as per the preliminary assessment by officials.

Around 10.5 lakh cusec floodwater released from Hirakud Dam to the river will reach Mundali barrage in the next 36 hours and cause the flood in Cuttack, Khordha, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Nayagarh districts.

“Due to heavy rainfall in the upstream catchment of Hirakud dam and heavy inflow into the reservoir, release of water from the dam through the spillway will exceed 11 lakh cusec by midday of August 29,” cautioned Rath.

Odisha special relief commissioner Pradeep Jena said 39 units of National Disaster Response Force, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and Fire Services have been stationed in 11 districts. Five more teams of the NDRF would be deployed by Saturday morning.

Meanwhile floodwaters continued to wreak havoc in Jajpur district where a swollen Brahmani river entered villages of Bari and Rasulpur block. In Bari block, firemen rescued two families including a two-month-old baby from their houses submerged under floodwater in Bari block. Around 10 Test Relief Embankments in Bari and one in Duttapur in Jajpur district have breached leading to submergence of villages.

In Bhadrak district, the situation was grim in seven blocks of the district, including Bhandaripokhari and Dhamnagar. A team of the NDRF in Bhandaripokhari block of Bhadrak rescued a 28-year-old pregnant woman from her home.

In Balasore district, a swollen Subarnarekha river submerged 10 Gram Panchayats under Baliapal block and five GPs under Bhograi block.

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