At least 13 Odisha districts, including several coastal ones, on the banks of the River Mahanadi and its distributaries, are bracing for a flood from Thursday with Hirakud reservoir all set to release its overflowing waters, officials said on Wednesday.
Special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said due to the heavy rainfall in the lower catchments of the Mahanadi as well as the opening of the gates of Hirakud in Sambalpur on Wednesday, about 11.5 lakh cusec of floodwater is likely to be discharged at Mundali from Thursday morning.
“This is likely to cause a medium flood in river Mahanadi and its distributaries. We have deployed 12 ODRAF teams and three NDRF teams in the likely affected districts for rescue and evacuation operations,” Sethi said.
“Besides fire service teams in respective districts will be deployed. Special care must be taken to shift the old, infirm, physically challenged, women and children to safe shelters well in advance,” he added.
Officials in Bargarh have asked all educational institutions in the district to remain closed on Wednesday in view of heavy rainfall and flood threat.
The flood warning came as Indian Meteorological Department on Tuesday sounded a red alert for the districts of Sundargarh, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Boudh, Sonepur, Nuapada and Jharsuguda predicting extremely heavy rains. IMD said the low-pressure area over northwest Bay of Bengal was likely to become more marked during the next 48 hours.
The situation in at least five western and central districts of the state remained grim with chief minister Naveen Patnaik announcing gratuitous relief of seven days for the flood-affected people.
Patnaik, who reviewed the situation in Balangir, Kalahandi, Boudh, Sonepur and Kandhamal districts, directed officials that relief worth Rs 60 per adult per day and Rs 45 per child per day be provided in the affected areas.
In the districts of Bolangir, Sonepur and Kalahandi, the flood situation did not improve much despite a let-up in the rain.
In Bolangir town, schools, hospitals, residential buildings, and government offices were inundated by rainwater as over 216 mm rainfall was recorded between Monday and Tuesday morning. More than 90% of Bolangir town has been inundated.
In Binka area of Sonepur, floodwater washed away five houses after gushing into Mahulapali village.