Odisha sounds alert for major flood in 2 districts as Subarnarekha swells

Published on Aug 21, 2022 04:19 PM IST

The death toll in Odisha flood rose to 10 after bodies of two persons travelling in a car that was washed away in Sambalpur district on Saturday were found on Sunday morning, a few metres away from the place from where they were washed away

The deep depression that crossed the Odisha coast on Friday evening brought heavy rainfall to the state (ANI)
The deep depression that crossed the Odisha coast on Friday evening brought heavy rainfall to the state (ANI)

The death toll in Odisha flood rose to 10 after bodies of two persons travelling in a car that was washed away in Sambalpur district on Saturday were found even as the state government sounded alert for a major flood in Subarnarekha river basin.

The bodies of a 50-year-old man and his 53-year-old brother-in-law were fished out of water on Sunday, more than 12 hours after they were washed away while crossing a flooded road in Sambalpur district. Tapas Nayak and his brother-in-law Pratap Patel of Gunduruchuan village under Jamankira block of Sambalpur district had gone to Laida to distribute cards inviting people for a post-funeral ceremony when they were washed away at Naktipal on Saturday evening. The car with the bodies of the two was found on Sunday morning, a few metres away from the place where they were washed away.

In Bhejadiha village under Kaptipada block of Mayuirbhanj district, a woman died after the mud wall of her house collapsed on her and her husband. Pelan Mahakud died in her sleep while her husband Ghasiram Mahakud was seriously injured.

Meanwhile, there do not seem to be any let up for Odisha with the deep depression over Jharkhand triggering one of the biggest floods in Subarnarekha river that would affect lakhs of people in Balasore and Mauyurbhanj districts.

Special relief commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena said with 6 lakh cusecs of water passing through Galudih barrage over Subarnarekha river just before it enters Odisha, there is a possibility of heavy flood in the river that would affect people in Baliapal, Bhograi, Jaleswar and Basta blocks of Balasore district and parts of Mayyurbhanj district. Flood water has already inundated low-lying areas such as Fuladi, Chandamaripadia, Kantabania and Pasimila areas of Balasore town by a swelling Budhabalang river.

“The impact of flood will be more severe compared to the flood in 2008. There is a possibility of the situation getting worse, so we need to remain alert. Involve all PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions ), women SHGs (Self Help Groups) and evacuate as many people to safe places from the probable inundation areas,” said Jena.

The state government delegated SRC power to Balasore district collector to manage the emergency situation arising out of the high floods in Subarnarekha system. One helicopter was also placed in the district to deal with emergency situation. Two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, 2 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams and 8 fire services teams have been rushed to Balasore district.

In Baliapal 14 power boats and 20 ordinary boats have been kept for undertaking rescue and relief operations, while steps have been taken to provide both dry and cooked food at flood shelter centres. Arrangements have also been made for providing drinking water to the affected people.

A report from Mayurbhanj district said, evacuation of people to safe places has been stepped up, while rescue and relief teams are in a state of preparedness to deal with any situation.

The flood situation in Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Koenjhar is likely to get worse with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting heavy rainfall in three northern Odisha districts from August 23. A yellow warning has been issued for these three districts by the IMD.

Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts are bracing for a high flood in Subarnerekha river. Heavy rainfall is likely to worsen the situation, as Jharkhand is releasing flood water on Subarnarekha’s upstream.

The SRC urged people not to try to cross road, bridges or culverts where floodwater is flowing. “Let’s not underestimate the power of flowing water. Even 6 inches of water can cause loss of friction between the tyres of the vehicle and the road. People need to understand this, especially youth,” he said.

In another incident, 35 passengers travelling in a motorised boat had a providential escape when their boat was washed away due to strong currents in Mahanadi river at Mahakalpada area of Kendrapara district on Saturday. The motor of the boat developed technical glitch while it was en-route Bahakuda from Paradip. Later, policemen from Jamboo marine police station rescued the passengers using an interceptor boat.

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