Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: At a time when several States in India are battling the flood havoc, Odisha seems to be in the grip of a possible drought situation as a result of scanty rainfall this monsoon. A recent report by the Met Centre reveals that 11 districts of the State have witnessed deficit rainfall during monsoon period between June 1 and July 22, while Puri and Kendrapara districts were worst-hit with maximum shortage of seasonal rain.

Jharsuguda district witnessed a 25.5 per cent surplus rainfall during the period while 18 districts – Nuapada, Gajapati, Boudh, Ganjam, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Koraput, Khurda, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Bolangir, Angul, Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Bargarh and Mayurbhanj received normal rainfall.

On the other hand, the districts of Khurda, Cuttack, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Bhadrak, Sonepur, Nayagarh, Jajpur and Jagatsinghpur got less than normal precipitation. Owing to severe deficit rainfall of 65.8% and 50.7% respectively in July, Puri and Kendrapara's situation looks worse.

In addition to this, Mayurbhanj (-39.8%), Sundergarh (-54.6%), Keonjhar (-41.8%)and Deogarh (-47.8%) witnessed severe deficit rainfall this month (till July 22). Consequently, Odisha is stated to have received 12.5% deficit rainfall during the monsoon period.

In contrast, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has positioned 85 teams at 74 locations in 20 vulnerable States to meet any eventuality in view of the worsening flood situation.

As per official reports, 12 teams have been deployed in Assam and 19 in Bihar to deal with the flood situation. There are seven teams in Maharashtra, nine in Gujarat, four teams in Karnataka, six teams each in UP and West Bengal. One team each has been deputed in Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura. Two teams each have been deputed in Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir, and three teams each in Kerala, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

This apart, 37 teams are stationed at 26 locations in 23 States at the Regional Response Centres (RRCs) of the NDRF located in the vulnerable areas for a prompt response to any disasters. The NDRF's 122 self-contained teams, comprising trained responders like doctors, divers, paramedics and engineers, equipped with adequate boats and other flood rescue equipment are on alert.

Additional teams have also been kept on alert at the NDRF battalions in Guwahati (Assam), Kolkata (West Bengal), Mundali (Odisha), Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu), Pune(Maharashtra), Vadodara (Gujarat), Bhatinda (Punjab), Ghaziabad and Varanasi (UP), Patna (Bihar), Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) and Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), reported IANS.

"The Force is in constant touch with the state governments to chalk out combat strategies," an NDRF statement said, adding that the NDRF control room at New Delhi is monitoring the situation and is in touch with other agencies.

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