The flood situation in Odisha remained grim on Thursday even as water level started receding in all major rivers. The death toll due to the flood rose to 34, 19 of them in August, officials said.
“The threat of a heavy flood in the Mahanadi river system has now subsided,” Odisha special relief commissioner PK Mohapatra said.
However, people in several districts, including Jajpur and Bhadrak, continued to remain marooned in flood water. A total of 11 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 30 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams and 184 boats have been engaged in rescue operations, with the state government asking the Centre to keep helicopters on standby for rescue work.
More than a lakh of people have been moved to safer areas and authorities have started around 240 free kitchens in 14 districts.
The flood situation had aggravated on Wednesday affecting about 10 lakh people in 23 districts. Authorities were apprehending it to be more devastating on Thursday as floodwater was being released through Hirakud Dam to Odisha’s biggest river Mahanadi.
A threat of flood looms over coastal districts of Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Puri districts as more than 11 cusec water was expected to come downstream. However, as rain subsided in the upstream of the dam, it became easier for the authorities to regulate the release of floodwater to the downstream.