Odisha stations 46 disaster response teams as flood situation turns grim
Odisha government has stationed 46 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Fire Service teams to flood-hit Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, and Jajpur districts even as it prepared for a medium flood in Mahanadi river system on Saturday morning following heavy rains in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh over the last three days.
Special relief commissioner of Odisha, Pradip Jena said hundreds of villages in low-lying areas in Khurda, Puri, Balasore and Bhadrak have been marooned by floodwater while Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts are likely to be affected by a medium flood in Mahanadi by Saturday morning due to incessant rains triggered by the depression caused over the Bay of Bengal last week.
“On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, a swollen Mahanadi is likely to trigger a medium flood in Puri and Kendrapara with 8 lakh cusec of water expected to flow in Mahanadi at Mundali,” said Jena. With the Mahanadi basin recording a massive 27.6 mm rainfall on Wednesday, which is 341 per cent more than the normal, the water inflow to Hirakud reservoir has crossed the 10500 cubic meters per second on Friday morning hours forcing the officials to open 28 gates of the reservoir.
The flood situation in Balasore, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj turned grim as rivers Baitarani, Subaranarekha and Jalaka were flowing above danger level due to rains in upper catchment areas. In Balasore district, the flood-like situation turned grim after the Galudiha barrage released 6100 cusec water from the reservoir inundating 40 villages under Bhograi block and 30 villages in Baliapal block in low lying areas. In Bhadrak district, hundreds of villages under Dhamnagar block were marooned by the floodwaters.
The floods have so far led to 8 deaths while two are still missing. The flood has affected over 2.4 million people in 4,964 villages, 33 municipalities and 139 blocks of 24 districts in Odisha. While over 7,500 houses have been damaged, around 130,000 hectares of agricultural land has been inundated.
A minor boy, who was swept away in floodwater in Dhenkanal district on Tuesday, was miraculously rescued in Brahmani river. The boy who was staying at his uncle’s house had come to the bank of Brahmani river to take a bath. However, he lost his footing on the edge and slipped into the river.
Officials however said they are worried over a cyclonic circulation over East-central Bay of Bengal and adjoining Myanmar that would reach Northwest Bay of Bengal off north Odisha West Bengal coasts around September 18. India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said the cyclonic circulation is likely to intensify into a Low-Pressure Area and trigger low to moderate rainfall in some districts of north Odisha on the evening of September 18 and heavy rainfall on September 19 and 20 in few districts of north Odisha.
Heavy rainfall is very likely to occur at one or two places over the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj on September 18. Heavy rainfall is very likely to occur at one or two places over the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda, Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal on September 19, said an IMD official. As September 20 is a full moon day, officials are worried over seawater blocking the discharge of floodwater.
One more low-pressure system forecast to brew over the Bay of Bengal between September 26 and 28 is also likely to cause a fresh headache for Odisha farmers. Under its influence, Balasore is going to record rainfall up to around 8mm per hour while other north Odisha districts like Bhadrak, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Cuttack are predicted to measure rain in the range of 4 mm per hour.
Farmers said the two consecutive low-pressure formations may hamper agricultural operations in northern Odisha as paddy in low lying areas would be inundated. “The current spate of rains due to last week’s depression over the Bay was good for the crops. But two more low-pressure systems would ruin crops on low lying areas of northern Odisha,” said farmer leader Arun Jena.