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Odisha braces for low-intensity flood, six coastal districts put on deluge alert

There could be a low-intensity flood since the expected flow at Naraj will be around eight lakh cusecs.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

The state government stepped up its preparedness and put vulnerable coastal districts on flood alert. NDRF, ODRAF, fire services teams were sent to Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Balasore following floodwater discharge from Hirakud reservoir to the Mahanadi system.

There could be a low-intensity flood since the expected flow at Naraj will be around eight lakh cusecs. Usually, anything above 10 lakh cusec causes major flooding.

The worrying feature, however, is that most parts of coastal Odisha are already reeling under the rainwater deluge and waterlogging that had taken place a couple of days ago and rivers like Baitarani and Jalaka are already flowing above their respective danger levels and have breached at various points.

Added to this is the full moon on 20 September which will further delay the discharge of floodwater to the sea plus the forecast of another low pressure in the Bay of Bengal on 18 September.

The state government has directed the collectors of the districts to stay in readiness to tackle the exigencies of the situation. The NDRF teams have been sent to Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Balasore and Puri.

The government agencies are conducting round-the-clock monitoring of the water level of the Mahanadi River and its tributaries including Brahmani, Baitarani and Subarnarekha. Hirakud dam authorities said 28 sluice gates have been opened with an average outflow of 4.87 lakh cusec of water.

The situation is not alarming as of now and the inflow from upstream is decreasing, said A C Sahu, Chief Engineer of the dam. The situation is under total control now and there will be no major flood threat, he added.

The water resources department officials said 5.96 lakh cusec water per second was being discharged at Mundali.

The water level at the barrage stood at 88.90 feet against the danger mark of 97.25 feet, as per the latest report.

Besides, 2.95 lakh cusec water was being discharged at Naraj. The water level at Narajwas at 25.50 metres against the danger level of 26.41 metres, the report added.

The depression-induced heavy rain has affected over 21 lakh people in 21 districts with six human casualties being reported due to the collapse of mud-walled houses.

As per preliminary reports, 3,839 houses were damaged while 1.30 lakh hectares of agricultural land were submerged in the rainwater. The district administrations have been instructed to submit a damage assessment report by September 22, following which the affected people could be given assistance, said officials.

While the Baitarani River recorded water level of 18.32 metre against Danger Level of 18.29 at Akhuapada, the Jalaka was flowing at 6.62 metre against Danger Level of 5.53 metre at Mathani. Subarnarekha was flowing above the warning level at Rajghat on a rising trend too, according to the release.

A report from Jajpur district said at least two persons have lost their lives in the floods in the district. The Brahmani river embankment breached at three different places.

Meanwhile, the flood situation has improved in the district as the water level of Brahmani showed a declining trend. Brahmani is flowing at 61 feet against its danger level at 67 feet at Jenapur while the Baitarani is still flowing above the danger level in the district on Thursday night. The Baitarani is flowing at 18.46 metres against its danger level at 17.83 metres at Akhuapada, district emergency office sources said.

Officials said four breaches occurred in Brahmani embankment marooning more than 59000 people of 67 villages under Bari and Rasulpur blocks of the district. Owing to breaches, river water entered into 67 villages affecting 59000 people of both the blocks. Besides, paddy crops over 48292 hectares of land were submerged and road links to 27 villages were also cut off as waist deep water was flowing on the roads.

District administration has opened 12 free kitchens for 1280 evacuated people and deployed 12 medical teams in the flood areas.

Reports of house collapse came in from Mayurbhanj district. The water level of Budhabalanga river is below the danger level.

The IMD has forecast another deep depression over East central Bay of Bengal causing rainfall in districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj and the north and western Odisha region from 18 to 20 September.