Massive Evacuation Drive In Balasore, Mayurbhanj As Odisha SRC Warns Of High Intensity Flood

Bhubaneswar: With the flood situation turning grim in the Subarnarekha river basin in Odisha, the administrations on Sunday launched a massive evacuation drive on a war footing in vulnerable areas of Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts, where many villages are feared to get submerged.

Both Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts have been put on high alert following the heightened flood situation in Subarnarekha basin and steps taken to ensure availability of ‘flood-fighting’ materials, officials said, appealing to the people to remain cautious and vigilant.

Odisha is already reeling under the impact of a flood in the Mahanadi river system following incessant rainfall, which has affected over seven lakh people, of whom around five lakh are still marooned in over 750 villages, they said.

In Balasore, around 60 villages in Baliapal, Jaleswar, Bhogarai and Basta blocks are likely to be inundated by water as the likelihood of a heavy flood in Subarnarekha has increased following release of excess water through 16 gates of Galudih barrage in Jharkhand, officials said.

As the water level of Subarnarekha at Jamsholaghat has touched 53.34 metre against the danger mark of 49.15 metre and the flow has been steadily increasing, road connectivity is also feared to get affected in several areas of Balasore, sources said.

Compounding the woes of residents of the four blocks, the Jalaka river continued to flow above the danger level at Mathani. It is flowing at 6.80 metre against the danger level of 5.500 metre, they said adding though the water level of Budhabalanga has fallen, its water submerged many areas.

Around 100 families in Bhogarai block continued to be marooned while over 10,000 hectares of paddy field remained submerged with floodwater, locals said adding a large number of people have moved to shelter centres as floodwater had entered their houses.

In view of the imminent flood fear, the district administration in Balasore has made elaborate arrangements for evacuation of people living in low-lying and vulnerable areas to safe places. “The process has already been initiated and people are being shifted from vulnerable areas to safe places like shelter centres, schools and Anganwadi centres,” said an official.

The District Magistrate and Collector, who has been delegated the powers of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) to manage the emergency situation, is visiting the flood-prone areas and monitoring the preparations, he said.

While a helicopter has been placed in the district to tackle the emerging situation, teams of ODRAF, NDRF and Fire Service have been deployed in the district which is also armed with an adequate number of power boats, he said.

A report from Baliapal said as many as 14 power boats and 20 ordinary boats are available for undertaking rescue and relief operations, while steps have been taken to provide both dry and cooked food at shelter centres. Arrangements have also been made for providing drinking water to the affected people, he said.

A report from Mayurbhanj district said, evacuation of people to safe places has been stepped up, while rescue and relief teams are in a state of preparedness to deal with any situation.

Over 500 mud houses were reportedly damaged in different villages of Bangiriposi block due to heavy downpour, while paddy fields in large areas remained submerged with floodwater, sources said.

Nearly six lakh cusec water is passing through Galudihi barrage in Jharkhand, while water is flowing around 4 metres above the danger mark at Jamshola., officials said.

The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena has stated said that the impact of the flood will be severe compared to that in 2008. “There’s a possibility of the situation getting worse, so we need to remain alert. We hope there will be no flood-like situation in Budhabalanga,” he added.

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