More than 5.32 lakh people of seven coastal districts affected
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhubaneswar, 25 October
More than 5.32 lakh people of seven coastal districts have been affected in the latest spell of flood which was caused due to the low pressure-induced incessant rains.
The official casuality figure stands at 10, which are attributed to separate cases of drowning and wall collapse. “Seven districts ~ Cuttack, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Nayagarh and Puri ~ have been affected in the flood. While about 5.32 lakh people have been affected, we have evacuated nearly 1.47 lakh people to safer places,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), Mr PK Mohapatra, adding that cyclone-hit Ganjam has borne the maximum brunt of flood too. 
A total of 2276 villages of 355 gram panchayats under 45 blocks, and seven urban local bodies (ULBs) are said to be affected.
Mr Mohapatra informed that while the major rivers are in spate, they are not rising any further. Rushikulya has been flowing at 18.20 metre against the danger level (DL) of 16.83 metre at Purusottampur by 3 PM today. As per the latest reports, water level in Brahmani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha and Rushikulya are rising, while that of Vamsadhara has fallen. Water level of Budhabalanga, a major river of the state, has remained steady.
Meanwhile, in a major decision, the state government decided to airlift people stranded atop buildings in the southern region. More than one lakh people have been marooned in Ganjam district alone.
“A large number of people are taking shelter on rooftops in many parts of Ganjam district. We are planning to rescue and move them to safer places by choppers,” said revenue minister Mr Surjya Narayan Patro.
The government has pressed three helicopters of Air Force and 11 units of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue operation. Of the three choppers, two have been stationed at Rangeilunda airstrip while the third one is at Bhubaneswar.
Reports from Ganjam district said that blocks including Aska, Sorada, Hinjili, Sergarh, Belaguntha and Rangelunda have been worst affected. In Berhampur town, more than 2,000 families have been stranded in affected areas like Nilanchala Nagar, Basudev Nagar, Gajapati Nagar and Haradakhandi.
The Ganjam district administration, meanwhile, claimed to have rescued, with help of NDRF personnel, at least nine persons taking shelter on a tree near Aska late last night.
Reports from the districts said that the Malaguni Right Embankment has overtopped, freshly inundating 11 gram panchayats of Puri district. The Nayagarh-Odagaon road has been cut off at Katarajhari and Dimisar. Flood water spilled over NH-57 at Badapandusar near Itamati in Nayagarh district.