BHUBANESWAR: In the midst of a severe flood situation across districts, the formation of a fresh low-pressure system that is likely to bring more rain misery to the affected areas has the State government on its toes again.
Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik conducted an aerial survey of five flood-hit districts of the State on Thursday, the IMD has predicted that the low pressure area will concentrate into a depression and trigger heavy rainfall in most of the flood-affected districts from Friday.
“Heavy rainfall is expected in Nayagarh, Khurda, Puri, Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Sambalpur and 13 other districts,” said Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre Director, HR Biswas.
There is also a possibility of the system turning into a cyclone with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center indicating in the direction. However, the IMD officials maintained that there was hardly any possibility of the system intensifying beyond a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal.
Meanwhile, though the water level in the Mahanadi river system had started to recede marginally, lakhs of people in the low-lying areas of the coastal districts are still marooned. Officials said more rain will make the situation precarious for the marooned people.
The Chief Minister announced 15 days relief for the affected people in the worst-hit districts of Khudra, Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur. He also announced relief for flood-hit areas of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur, Boudh and Angul districts, which are all located in the upstream of river Mahanadi.
More rain pain in store; CM announces relief
He expressed concern over the inundation of populated areas in the three worst affected districts and directed the officials to provide both cooked and dry food, candles, matchboxes, drinking water pouches, medicines, baby food and other essentials to the affected persons. He also asked officials to undertake damage assessment within seven days of the water receding from the villages and provide assistance to the affected people within 15 days.
After returning from the survey, he tweeted that the flood has caused damage to agriculture, roads, houses and other infrastructure. Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said over 4.39 lakh people of 2,079 villages in 71 blocks and 10 urban local bodies of 13 districts have been affected by the flood. Over 2.61 lakh people of 496 villages remained marooned while more than 81,200 people have been evacuated to safer places. He said as rains have stopped in the upstream of Mahanadi river in Chhattisgarh, 12 of 40 gates of Hirakud dam have been closed.
The reservoir level now stood at 623.43 feet and will be brought to 622 feet by 9 am on Friday. The inflow and discharge from the dam was 3.90 lakh cusecs and 4.77 lakh cusecs respectively. The flow of water at Mundali baragge has also dropped to 9.95 lakh cusecs. The SRC said because of the possible situation of another spell of heavy rain due to the fresh low pressure formed on Thursday, the government asked district collectors of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Balasore, Bhadrak and Jajpur to remain on alert. “District collectors of the northern districts have been instructed to monitor the situation even though we do not see any flood in north Odisha,” the SRC said.