Orissa Govt sounds flood alert in several districts

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Minati Singha, TNN | Sep 8, 2011, 12.14PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa government on Wednesday sounded an alert in several districts in the wake of rising water levels in major rivers following heavy rainfall. The alert came even as the weather bureau predicted no respite from rain in the next 24 hours.

One person drowned and more than one lakh people were affected as over 150 villages were hit by flash floods on the banks of major rivers including Baitarani, Brahmani, Kathajodi, Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga and Jalaka. Flash floods have affected most parts of Bhadrak, Jajpur and Kendrapada districts while the situation is Balasore is slightly improving.

A man identified as Baisakh Ojha of Shyamsunder village in Dasrathpur block of Jajpur district was washed away in high streams of Baitarani river on Wednesday, official sources said. About 40 villages of Jajpur and Dasrathpur block of the district are inundated in flood water affecting over 20,000 people. Several villages of Bhadrak district are also flooded in water of Baitarani river affected several hectares of agriculture lands in Dhamnagar and Bhadrak block.

In the coastal plains of the state, the Mahanadi, which is the state's biggest river system, threatened to inundate large areas in at least seven districts. "It has also been predicted that one to two lakh cusec of water is likely to be discharged from Mahanadi at Mundali by Thursday creating flood situation in several areas in coastal Orissa," said an official spokesperson of revenue and disaster management department.

The water level in the dam on river Mahanadi at Hirakud has crossed its danger mark and touched 626.31 ft against the reservoir level of 630 ft with an inflow of 6,84,000 cusec water and outflow of over 6,03,000 cusec water. Sources in revenue department control room here said 34 of the 36 sluice gates of the dam were opened to discharge the water.

The met office predicted, "The low pressure area over north Orissa and adjoining Jharkhand, Gangetic West Bengal now lies over north interior Orissa. Under its influence, heavy to very heavy rain would occur at most places over interior Orissa and at many places over coastal Orissa."

All district collectors have been asked to remain alert with an emergency plan to meet any eventualities and to ensure functioning of round the clock control rooms. Notices also issued to depute mobile teams in weak and vulnerable river catchments and locate low lying areas to be inundated and to prepare evacuation plans. The district administrations also have to make arrangements of dry food materials, matchbox, polythene, kerosene and power boats and to make suitable arrangement of smooth running of vehicles on overflowing roads and bridges, official sources said.