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Rain Affects Nearly 24Lakh

Bhubaneswar: Over 23.82 lakh people in 24 districts have been affected due to incessant rains triggered by a low pressure over the Bay of Bengal.

As per the report of the office of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), a total of 7,540 houses and 1.30 lakh hectare of agricultural land has also been affected due to the heavy rain.

The death toll due to the State disaster has also increased to six. Three people in Kendrapara, one each in Subarnapur & Ganjam district died due to wall collapse, while one killed in Khordha district due to drowning. Two other persons are still missing in Cuttack and Balangir districts. A detailed investigation is going on by the district administration, officials said.

The district administrations have been instructed to submit the damage assessment reports by September 22, following which the affected people could be given assistance.

For rescue and relief operations, five Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams and two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in affected Balasore, Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts. The local administrations have evacuated 20,552 persons from the affected areas, the officials said.

With all major rivers of the state are in spate due to heavy rainfall, SRC PK Jena has expected a medium flood in the Mahanadi river system which has led to the opening of more sluice gates of the Hirakud reservoir.

“If required more gates will be opened according to the Rule Curve to maintain the dam,” he said as it has been decided to maintain water level at Hirakud reservoir at 628 feet against its full reservoir capacity of 630 feet.

As per the latest reports, 28 gates of the Hirakud reservoir have been opened after heavy rain was reported in the upper catchment area of the reservoir in Chhattisgarh. While 3.19 lakh cusecs of water are entering the reservoir the same volume of water is being discharged every second from the dam, sources said.

Sources said the water level of Baitarani, which was flowing above danger level near Akhuapada, started falling and it is expected to further recede. Budhabalanga Subarnarekha rivers were flowing below the danger level and there was no chance of any flood.

The state’s deficient rainfall ratio between June 1 and August 31, which was minus 30.3 per cent, on September 15 stood at minus 8.8 per cent due to the depression induced heavy rainfall, an official said.

The water resources department and district authorities downstream of Mahanadi have been kept on full alert. “We expect a low to medium flood to pass through Mahanadi at Mundali near Cuttack. About 7 lakh cusecs of flood water is expected to flow through Mundali barrage,” Mr.Jena said.

The district administrations are taking measures to ensure that the flood does not cause much damage in the delta area. Men and machineries are being kept in readiness to manage the situation, he said.

Engineers of the water resources department are keeping a close watch on the vulnerable river embankments so that there is no breach in them when the medium flood passes through the Mahanadi river, the SRC said.

“The volume of water discharge near Mundali is likely to increase to 7 lakh cusec in the next 36 hours after the fresh water being discharged through additional six gates reach here,” DK Samal, the engineer-in-chief of the Water Resources department said.

The state government has received reports of water logging in several areas due to the devastating rain. “Though there is no flood in the rivers, all water bodies in the nooks and corners in the State are filled with rainwater causing havoc. More than two dozen villages across the state remained marooned, including 20 in Koraput district alone,” the SRC said.