Furious floods are wreaking havoc across the country. One of the worst-hit places is Kendrapara in Orissa, where breaches in the embankments of two tributaries of the Mahanadi have affected nearly five lakh people.
Thousands who are marooned are fending for themselves as government relief is nowhere to be seen. Road communication is almost non-existent with the Express Highway taking hits in two places. Marsaghai, Patkura, Mahakalapada, Garadpur and Jambu areas remain cut off. People have left their homes and are taking shelter in open spaces.
It was, therefore, only natural that angry protests greeted revenue minister Manmohan Samal on Saturday as he toured the district. With things in such dire straits, 200 boats have been mobilised to provide relief. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will visit on Sunday. “The entire administration has swung into action to provide prompt relief to all the flood-affected,” he said.
Apart from Kendrapara, 11 other districts are under water. The damage: 1.56 lakh hectare of farm land, 11,000 houses and 88 roads. The only good news is that the water level in the Mahanadi is receding, but the damage is already done.
Flood threat in Valley
A flood situation looms large in the Valley, which has been lashed with torrential rains for the past 40 hours. The Jhelum river is flowing 10 feet above the danger level at Sangam and has inundated 50 villages along the riverbank in Anantnag and Pulwama. It is reportedly flowing above the danger mark in Srinagar and Sumbal too.
Traffic on the Srinagar-Anantnag highway has been suspended. The Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Leh highways also remained closed to traffic for the second day on Saturday due to landslides.
Authorities have sounded a flood alert across the state. According to Riyaz Ahmad Hamadani, chief engineer, flood control, all employees of the department have been deployed on emergency duty and a control room has been set up. A government spokesperson said the situation was alarming but the “administration is geared up to deal with it”. He said water levels could rise further.
Incessant rain in Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, where the army has been called in, incessant rains continued to pound Jhalawar and Kota districts. Three hundred people trapped in a temple in Chapiheda village were shifted out while six labourers caught in strong river currents were rescued in Pali. The situation has eased somewhat in Banswara, Dungarpur and Udaipur as the rains have ceased. Relief work is still on in the border district of Barmer.
A nine-member team from the Centre will tour the flood-affected regions on Sunday to assess the damage done so far.
Betwa poses danger to UP
The rising waters of the Betwa river in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh has created a flood-like situation in some areas of Bundelkhand and some other parts of the state. Irrigation minister Merazuddin said that if the river's water reached UP and merged with the Ganga and Yamuna, it could pose a serious threat to Bundelkhand and the border areas. The district administrations of Hamirpur, Jhansi, Jalaun and Ghazipur have been put on high alert.
With agency inputs