Authorities in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts of Odisha have launched a massive evacuation campaign in low-lying areas, officials said on Sunday, as water from Subarnarekha and Baitarani – the two main rivers flowing through the region – has crossed the danger mark in many places.
As many as 58 rescue teams comprising of NDRF, ODRAF and fire brigade personnel have been deployed in Balasore and Mayurbahnj districts, Special Rescue Commissioner Pradeep K Jena said, adding that similar arrangements were also made. taken in the neighboring districts of Bhadrak and Jajpur.
“Involve Panchayati Raj system officials, women’s self-help groups and others concerned in the evacuation of people,” Mr Jena said in a message to Balasore and Mayurbhanj district collectors.
The water level of all the rivers in northern Odisha is in flood due to heavy rains caused by a deep depression on the Bay of Bengal and subsequent discharge of flood waters from Jharkhand.
According to Jena, nearly 6 lakh cusec (cubic feet per second) of water was discharged by Jharkhand from the Galudih Dam onto the Subarnarekha river system, following a downpour.
Most of the rivers flowing through the northern region of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal originate from neighboring Jharkhand. Four blocks in the coastal district of Balasore – Baliapal, Bhograi, Basta and Jaleswar – have been identified as the most vulnerable to the latest floods.
The Balasore district administration has decided to evacuate at least 1.2 lakh people by midday Monday when the peak flood of Subarnarekha is likely to cross Raj Ghat.
“The evacuation of people is in full swing. Officers at cluster level are on the ground coordinating efforts,” the Balasore District Magistrate said in a tweet.
Rivers like Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Jalaka and Baitarani swelled after Friday’s rains induced by a deep depression and subsequent spillage of water from Galudih Dam in Jharkhand.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik delegated the powers of a special relief commissioner to the Balasore District Collector so that local administration could be more efficient. A helicopter was also made available to deal with any emergency.
Odisha is already reeling from moderate flooding in the Mahanadi river system following relentless rains, which affected over 7 lakh people. Nearly 5 lakh are still stranded in 763 villages, according to government estimates.
The rains and flood-related incidents have so far claimed six lives. Two bodies were found in Kuchinda area of Sambalpur district on Saturday while four people including two underage girls were killed in a wall collapse on Friday night.
There have been signs of relief, however, as rains have subsided in the upper Mahanadi River catchment, said BK Mishra, chief engineer at the water resources department. There is an improvement in the flood situation in the Mahanadi Delta, he said, adding that it is expected to improve in the coming days.
India’s meteorology department said the deep depression has now weakened into a depression over northwest Chhattisgarh and adjoining northeast Madhya Pradesh and southeast Uttar Pradesh.
However, the latest forecast from IMD indicates that Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal, Kandhamal, Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Odisha are expected to experience light to moderate rainfall or thunderstorms from 23rd August.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)