Orissa flood: 61 breaches, no respite | india | Hindustan Times
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Orissa flood: 61 breaches, no respite

The flood situation continues to be grim in Orissa with the Mahanadi and its tributaries breaking banks at more places and the state expecting no respite for a week, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2008 22:42 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

The flood situation continues to be grim in Orissa with the Mahanadi and its tributaries breaking banks at more places and the state expecting no respite for a week.

Embankments have now been breached at 61 places. Seventeen people have been killed and 24 lakh affected in what has been described as unprecedented floods in the Mahanadi river system. So far, 2.66 lakh people have been evacuated. Crop standing on 1.55 lakh hectares has been inundated.

“The flood situation is likely to continue for another seven days. It has improved in some areas, but there is fresh concern in certain parts of the state,” Chief Secretary Ajit Tripathy said.

According to government estimates, nearly 5.7 lakh people in 1,849 villages are still marooned as communication links with many districts have snapped. As many as 473 villages in Cuttack, 150 in Jagatsinghpur, 160 in Jajpur, 645 in Puri and 421 in Kendrapara district have been submerged. While 3,683 villages in 951 gram panchayats have been affected, the surging waters have damaged 1,552 roads.

Tripathy said airdropping relief had begun and boats pressed into service to reach marooned villagers. Two IAF choppers have dropped 4,650 food packets. Besides 231 powerboats available with it, the state has got 35 boats from the National Disaster Response Force for relief and rescue. The government has asked for 1,045 private boats as well.

“Those in marooned areas will be provided relief for 15 days; in other places, supplies would be provided for a week,” the chief secretary said. According to Revenue Secretary G.V.V. Sharma, panchayat sarpanches have been authorised to open free kitchens. So far, 284 kitchens have been set up for 1.12 lakh people.

At the Hirakud dam, 23 gates were opened on Sunday. On Saturday, 47 gates of the reservoir had to be opened to ease situation. While the inflow into the dam was 3.85 lakh cubic feet per second (cusec), the outflow was 4.97 lakh cusec.

The situation may worsen as a low pressure area is likely to form off the coast that may cause more rain. Bhubaneswar Met office director S.C. Sahu told HT: “There is no cause for alarm over this low pressure.”