Fresh flood fear looms in 5 Orissa districts

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TNN | Sep 23, 2011, 11.20AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Incessant rain, triggered by a depression over the Bay of Bengal, threatened flood for the second time within two weeks in Bramhani and Baitarani rivers in parts of Jajpur and Kendrapada districts on Thursday. Budhabalanga and Subarnarekha rivers were also in spate. leading to fears of flood in Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Bhadrak districts.

The state government, which on Thursday handed over a memorandum to the Centre seeking assistance worth Rs 2121 crore towards damages caused during the flood in the Mahanadi river system earlier this month, alerted the concerned district administrations to remain on the alert and also sent additional manpower and relief materials to deal with the possible calamity.

By evening, 90 villages in Jajpur were marooned due to the swelling Baitarani, forcing the government to rush four Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams, in excess to such personnel doing duty there, official sources said. Three additional ODRAF teams were also dispatched to Bhadrak and two to Balasore, sources added.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and have advised the district administrations to remain on high alert," special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra told TOI. Official sources said high floods might take place in Baitarani and Brahmani rivers and people from low lying areas, particularly along the river banks in Badachana, Bari, Jajpur and Dharmasala blocks of Jajpur district and Aul and Rajkanika blocks of Kendrapada district, were being evacuated.

While rains lashed different parts of the state, mostly the northern region, throughout the day, the weatherman predicted more precipitation in northern as well southern parts of Orissa. The well-marked low pressure over north-western Bay of Bengal had intensified into a depression and was moving in a west-north-westerly direction and was likely to cross North Orissa-West Bengal coast between Balasore and Digha shortly, local meteorological office sources said.

The swirling waters of Baitarani had crossed the danger mark at Akhuapada and Anandapur while the water level in Brahmani and Budhabalang were rising fast. The flood situation was also expected to affect Keonjhar, Dhenkanal and Angul districts, official sources said.

Last week, river Brahmani had breached embankments at Matiapada in Bari block and Haladharpur in Badachana block of Jajpur district. The fresh flood is expected to inundate these areas once again as the breaches are yet to be repaired. "Still suffering from last week's floods, we are told there is chance of yet another deluge," said Ratnakar Jena (48), a farmer of Bari. "My six-roomed thatched house collapsed in the flood a few days back. Since last three days, I along with my three sons were trying to rebuild the house. But the latest flood warning has shaken us all," he added.

People in over 40 villages of Anandpur sub-division in Keonjhar had turned very apprehensive as the water level on river Baitarani was flowing above the danger level.