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State Awaits Peak Flood

Bhubaneswar: State anxiously awaits till Saturday morning when the peak flood is expected to pass at Mundali near Cuttack city, a large areas in the Mahanadi and Subarnarekha river basins have already been inundated leaving thousands of people marooned, official sources said.

Though all the seven major rivers in Odisha are in the spate following the depression induced heavy rainfall early this week which left nine people dead, Mahanadi and Subarnarekha have become cause of concern as the peak flood water is expected to flow by Saturday.

“We are expecting a flow of 8 lakh cusec of water at Mundali near Cuttack by Saturday in the Mahanadi river system while the water level in the Subarnarekha River is also rising.  It is expected that water level in the Subarnarekha River will be at its peak height of 11.5 meters near Rajghat by 10 pm to 12 midnight on Friday night,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep K Jena said.  

Stating that the entire state administration and the district collectors are on high alert, the SRC said rescue teams of NDRF, ODRAF and Odisha Fire Service have already been deployed at vulnerable pockets to deal with any emergency situation.

Meanwhile, reports said that flood water of Mahanadi River has already entered into agricultural fields and some villages in Cuttack and Khurda districts while around 30 villages under Baliapal and Bhograi blocks have been inundated due to Subarnarekha floods. Some portions of Balasore Sadar block have also been affected in the flood, they said.

Following the release of the flood water from Hirakud Dam 36 hours ago, over 10 villages in three panchayats– Orabarasingh, Brajamohanpur and Narangarh- under Khurda district are reportedly surrounded by water, sources in the water resources department said.

The SRC said though there has declined volume of water entering into Hirakud Reservoir due to  less rainfall in the upper catchment areas in Chhattisgarh, the water level downstream is increasing due to release of flood water through 28 sluice gates of the dam. While the water level at Hirakud was 628.77 feet at 12 noon, it came down to 628.65 ft at 6 pm.

However, the SRC pointed out that water flow has increased at Mundali near Cuttack as it increased to 6.55 lakh per second at 6 PM from 6.49 lakh cusec water at 12 noon. The volume of water flow is on rise in all the three gauge stations at Khairmal, Barmul and Mundali along the Mahanadi system, he said.

“We are expecting a peak flow at Mundali by tomorrow. As per the projection, around 7.5 lakh cusecs of water will pass through Mundali. We hope to keep the flow below 8 lakh cusecs. As per our assessment, there will be no problem in the tributaries of Mahanadi,” Mr.Jena said.

EIC DK Samal said both men and machinery are in readiness to tackle any eventualities. The engineers with materials are kept ready to repair if at all there is any breach in any embankment, he said.

Speaking about the flood situation in Odisha, he said that five districts in coastal region are likely to be affected by the flood as the water level in Brahmani and Mahanadi Rivers rose due to incessant rainfall.

The water level in Brahmani and Mahanadi rivers may cross danger marks in places of Jajpur, Cuttack, Puri, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur district, he said.

Meanwhile, a report from Keonjhar district said that two persons are missing after they were swept away in Baitarani river while collecting wood from flood water near Anandapur barrage. Fire personnel rescued one person while two others are still missing, according to the district emergency room sources.

A report from Balasore district said that the water level in all the major rivers have caused concern for residents living in low lying areas. Heavy rain for the last two days in the catchment areas of Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Jalaka and Kansabansa have helped increase water level.

The water level of river Subarnarekha at Rajghat at national highway sixty near Jaleswar has crossed it’s danger mark and reached 10.51 meters against danger level of 10.36 meters.

Similarly water level of Jalaka in Mathani at Basta is 6.50 meters against danger level of 5.50 meters. Thousands of people living in low lying areas of Bhograi, Jaleswar, Baliapal, Basta, Balasore  Sadar  and Remuna block suffer due to the current flood situation.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department in its latest bulletin has forecast rains in Odisha from September 18 to 21 under the impact of the cyclonic circulation which lies over East Central and adjoining Northeast Bay of Bengal. The system is very likely to move west-northwestwards and reach Northwest Bay of Bengal off north Odisha-West Bengal coasts around September 18, the IMD said, issuing yellow warning (to remain updated).

While heavy rainfall very likely to occur at one or two places over the districts of Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj from September 18 to 19 morning, the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapada, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Puri, Nayagarh, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Kandhamal, Malkangiri, and Koraput are likely to receive heavy rains from September 19 to 20 morning, it said.

The IMD further stated that from September 20 to 21 morning heavy rainfall is very likely to occur at one or two places over the districts of Sundargarh, Balangir, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda and Sonepur.