BHUBANESWAR: As a surging Mahanadi passed through districts located on the deltaic zone submerging more villages on Saturday, fresh rain caused by a low pressure in Bay of Bengal compounded the misery of the flood affected people.
More pockets of Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri districts came under the grip of the flood as reports of increased inundation poured in. The number of marooned villages almost doubled in a day from 281 on Friday to 526 on Saturday thus taking the total population affected to 28.6 lakh.
With Mahanadi maintaining a discharge in the range of 10.41 lakh cusec to 9.87 lakh cusec, Kendrapara, Puri and Cuttack faced fresh inundation on the day. At least 90,000 people in 45 villages of Kendrapara were cut off and district administration was struggling to reach out to the flood hit. Rajnagar, Pattamundai, Aul and Kanika blocks emerged as the worst hit.
“The seven-day relief announced by the State Government would not be sufficient as it may take more than a week for the people to return home, provided there is no more rain,” a district official said.
In Cuttack, at least 47,080 people remained cut off as a whopping 152 villages were marooned, mostly in Banki, Tigiria and Athagarh blocks. The district reported the highest flood hit population of about 7 lakh across 13 blocks while the administration stepped up relief and rehabilitation measures.
The condition in Puri was equally critical as 34 more villages with a combined population of 30,000 were cut off from the mainland after river Daya flooded more areas on Friday night and Saturday. Almost half of the flood-hit in five blocks of the district have remained marooned, awaiting for food and relief.
Thousands of flood victims of Jajpur district, which bore the brunt of Baitarani river, were left to fend for themselves under the open sky or in makeshift plastic shacks on their roof-tops with the villages still inundated by flood water.
Most complained that they had to arrange the plastic sheets on their own to build the makeshift tents as Government failed to reach out to them even six days after the flood. At least 5.30 lakh people have been hit by the floods in the district so far.
The Special Relief Commissioner’s office said, At least 28.58 lakh people in 23 districts have so far been hit by the floods in close to 5,000 villages. The death toll currently stands at 38 with one report coming in from Balangir on Saturday.
While the floods showed no sign of relenting, fresh rains induced by a low pressure off North Odisha coast heaped more misery on the people. Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar were lashed by continuous rain in the last 24 hours.
With the full-moon day approaching, the locals were worried that tidal conditions would prevent evacuation of flood water into the sea and backwater would inundate more areas in the deltaic region.