Two killed, 2.4 lakh people affected in Odisha floods; CM orders evacution

Bhubaneswar: At least two persons were killed, 2.4 lakh people affected and thousands of acres of agricultural land inundated as the depression induced heavy rainfall caused floods in Odisha’s five districts prompting the state government to launch rescue and relief operations.

The five districts which have been affected due to the floods in the Subarnarekha, Budhabalang and Baitarani rivers were Keonjhar, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Bhadrak.

“Two persons Dora Singh Sahu (40), owner of a medicine store at Baliapal town in Balasore district and his assistant Kabula (30) were swept away by flood waters of Subarnarekha river while crossing a flooded road. The bodies are yet to be recovered,” deputy special relief commissioner (DSRC) Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra said.

“Even as flood situation in Baitarani and Subarnarekha rivers has shown some improvement due to reduced rainfall in their catchment areas last night, the flood situation in Subarnarekha river passing through Balasore district continued to remain severe due to continuous heavy rainfall both in Odisha and Jharkhand,” said special relief commissioner G V V Sarma.

The release of water from Galudihi barrage in Jharkhand has further aggravated the situation in Subarnarekha river, he said, adding so far two breaches have occurred on the embankment of river Baitarani – one near Ganeswarpur in Jajpur district and the other near Khaljori in Chandabali block of Bhadrak district.

As per preliminary estimates by the revenue and disaster management department, about 2.4 lakh people of 282 villages under 11 blocks in five districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Jajpur, Bhardak and Balasore have been affected by the current spell of floods.

One small breach has also occurred on the left embankment of Kani river near Panchupada of Dasarathpur block of Jajpur district. Another breach was on Subarnarekha near Dahamunda of Bhogarai block in Balasore district, officials said.

As many as 2,238 people in three districts have been evacuated and shifted to seven shelters. Dry food has been provided and free kitchens opened for them. Vast crop areas have been inundated and a number of houses have been damaged due to floods, department officials said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the flood situation and asked the administration to ensure evacuation of people from low lying areas. Four ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force) units and one NDRF unit has been deployed in the affected district to undertake rescue operation and assist the administration in relief activities.

“One additional ODRAF unit is being rushed to Balasore district and one unit has been kept standby at Cuttack,” the officials said.

The fire services units in the districts of Jajpur, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts have been mobilised with 42 boats, other equipment and manpower to undertake search and rescue operations.

Fire services personnel had rescued nine persons to safety at Motangapal under Korei block in Jajpur district yesterday.

As many as 90 power boats of the State Port Engineering Organisation under the SRC have been deployed in these districts, the officials added.