Over seven lakh people in Odisha have been affected by a moderate level flood in the Mahanadi river system. Nearly five lakh are still marooned in 763 village across districts in the state.
Even as the state is reeling under flood fury and the tremendous task of evacuating lakhs of people, the weather department has alerted more rains in the next few days in the region.
The flood situation in several northern Odisha districts was alarming on Monday, as the swollen Subarnekha river inundated low-lying areas and left people in over 100 villages marooned.
An IMD bulletin has forecast heavy rain in northern Odisha districts on Tuesday.
The water level in all the rivers located in north Odisha is in spate due to heavy rain caused by a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal, and subsequent flood-water release from Jharkhand.
Authorities in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts had on Sunday launched a massive evacuation drive to shift people from vulnerable areas to safer locations, which is continuing on Monday.
Subarnarekha has been rising significantly since Sunday evening, inundating many areas in Baliapal, Bhograi, Basta and Jaleswar by 11 am, the officials said.
The authorities expect peak flooding to take place after more water is released from the Galudih barrage in Jharkhand.
As per data of the Central Water Commission (CWC), the water level of Subarnarekha at Rajghat in the district was 11.90 metre at 9 am as against the danger level of 10.36 metre, while at Jamsolaghat, it was 50.04 metre as against the danger level of 49.15 metre.
The Balasore district administration has decided to evacuate at least 1.2 lakh people by Monday noon.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik delegated the powers of a special relief commissioner to the collector of Balasore district so that the local administration could be more effective. A helicopter was also placed at his disposal to deal with any emergency.
Meanwhile, Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena has written to the district collectors of Khurda, Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar and Boudh, asking them to distribute sanitary napkins free of cost to women marooned in the flood.
Sanitary napkins distributed to flood-affected women in Bichana village of Garadpur. Other flood-affected areas will be covered too, the district collector of Kendrapara said on Twitter.
Odisha is already reeling under the impact of moderate flood in the Mahanadi river system, following incessant rainfall, which has affected over seven lakh people. Nearly five lakh are still marooned in 763 villages, according to government estimates.
(With PTI inputs)