BHUBANESWAR: With Baitarani river breaching the danger mark and swelling rapidly, the State Government on Monday asked the Collectors of the three districts to evacuate people from low-lying areas.
The Government also mobilised rapid action teams for rescue and relief operations and directed the administrations of Bhadrak, Keonjhar and Jajpur to depute mobile patrol teams to keep an eye on the river embankments.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the situation, asked the Collectors to start free kitchen wherever necessary. He also asked the Collectors to assess damage in the affected areas and provide assistance to the flood-hit without delay.
With western catchment of the Baitarani receiving heavy showers, the river swelled and crossed the danger mark of 38.36 metres. By 3 pm, the river was flowing at 40 metres at Anandpur. The Central Water Commission report said the water level will reach 40.57 metres at 11 pm. The river also crossed the red mark at Akhuapada. It may start receding thereafter since intensity of rain is likely to drop.
However, expecting inundation downstream, the Government despatched six units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) to Keonjhar, Cuttack, Kalahandi and Mayurbhanj districts. Two units each were placed at Keonjhar and Cuttack, Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said.
Similarly, three contingents of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were also mobilised to the districts where Baitarani is expected to cause damage later in the night.
Although the low pressure, which turned into a depression, induced heavy showers, it was Kalahandi, and not Keonjhar, which was pounded by the rains. Thuamul Rampur recorded a whopping 405 mm rain followed by 255 mm in Kalampur and 221 mm at Jaipatna in the last 24 hours. Other parts of the district also received heavy showers.
The torrential downpour sent Hati river in spate. The NH 26 near Junagarh was under four feet flood water. At least 10 Bol Bom devotees had a close shave when they were caught on the flooded Hati bridge. The fire fighters rushed to the spot and rescued them.
Low lying areas in Matikhal, Jamguda, Biripur and Balichada of Kalampur block, Kutengaon, Palas, Bargaon, Talmala, Sahajkana and Mankadsola villages under Junagarh block were submerged and road links to these villages snapped due to flood in Hati river.
Power generation from Indravati project has been stopped since Sunday midnight and one of the six sluice gates at Mangalpur barrage of Indravati irrigation was thrown open to control the flood situation.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the current spell of flood has risen to three. While two persons drowned in Gangua Nullah near Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening, a third person died in Kasei in Mayurbhanj.
Though other rivers such as Bansadhara, Budhabalanga, Brahmani and Mahanadi showed rising trends at some gauge stations, the SRC’s office said there is no need for concern since the rainfall is likely to taper off.