The flood situation in the Mahanadi river system in Odisha remained grim on Tuesday as over two lakh people in 10 districts were affected by the calamity, a senior official said here. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked officers concerned to ensure “zero casualty” in the flood caused by heavy rainfall due to the week-long low pressure and depression.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said that as per preliminary data, two lakh people have been affected due to the flood while around 24,000 hectares of farmland have been hit. Of them, 1.20 lakh people in 237 villages were marooned and over 26,000 people have been evacuated.
Jena said that the flow of flood water will reach its peak in the Mahanadi delta region comprising Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Puri districts after midnight. The peak flow of flood water is occurring currently at Mundali barrage in Cuttack.
The SRC said that breaches have been reported at two places in the Mahanadi river system one in Makara river in Puri district and the other at Rajua Raiki in Khurda district.
Rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and Odisha Fire Service have launched an operation to rescue 600 school children trapped in a private residential institute at Gatiroutpatna in Cuttack district.
Around 450 children have been brought to safety by 9 pm, the SRC said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the flood situation and asked officials to ensure zero casualty in the calamity, besides immediate repair of roads and communication channels affected by the flood, Jena said. The CM has said that every life is precious for the state and all efforts should be made to ensure that not a single life is lost in the calamity, the SRC said.
While putting collectors of 10 districts on high alert, Patnaik directed evacuation of people living in low-laying areas and from places inundated by the flood water. Engineer in Chief, Water Resources Department, BK Mishra, said that the flood water is being discharged through 40 gates of Hirakud reservoir by 8.30 PM of Tuesday, as 14 more gates have been opened. The water level in the reservoir stood at 626.87 feet at 9 PM while its depth is 630 feet, he said.
“The flood situation in the Mahanadi river system is grim. The next 48 to 72 hours are critical for the state. About 12 lakh Cusec (cubic feet per second) flood water is now flowing through Mundali barrage,” Jena said after the chief minister reviewed the situation during the day. Around 90 free kitchens are operational to provide food to 26,000-27,000 affected people, he said.
The flood water has entered villages and agricultural fields and is flowing over several bridges in the districts of Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Boudh, Cuttack, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri districts. Nine teams each of NDRF and ODRAF have been deployed in vulnerable places, while 44 teams of the fire service have been engaged in relief and rescue operations.
The government has authorised district collectors to close schools and educational institutions in flood-hit areas and to undertake evacuation of people from all vulnerable pockets, Jena said. The meteorological department forecast the formation of a fresh low pressure over the northern Bay of Bengal by Friday which could bring in widespread and heavy rain in the state from Thursday.
The Met Office issued a yellow warning of heavy rain in 10 districts of north coastal Odisha on Wednesday.