Flood-hit Odisha seeks Navy aid

Flood-hit Odisha seeks Navy aid

The number of districts affected by the floods in the Mahanadi and its branch rivers has gone up from 14 to 19. The deluge has so far claimed eight lives.

“A naval ship carrying relief materials and a helicopter has already left Vishakhapatnam port in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh for Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district. The chopper will be used for relief and rescue operations,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradipta Mohapatra said.

Besides, he said, a helicopter already stationed in the state for anti-naxal operations would be engaged for flood related works. “The union home ministry has already given permission for that,” the SRC said adding that the Indian Army had also been alerted to provide more choppers, if needed.

The state government has also decided to shut down all government as well as privately run schools in flood-hit districts. They would be turned into relief centres and temporary homes to shelter people evacuated from their houses in the marooned villages.

The floods have so far affected 2,550 villages and more than half of them have become marooned. Mechanized as well as country boats are being used to ferry the marooned villagers to relief centres.

Similarly, the flood waters have entered into several urban areas, where the people have been advised to move to safer places. Sambalpur, the district headquarters town of western Odisha, has been the worst hit among the urban centres, where nearly 10,000 people have been given shelter in as many as 41 relief camps.

Sambalpur is located near the Hirakud reservoir, which has been releasing lakhs of cusecs of water into the Mahanadi river system triggering the current floods. The dam is almost full. Against the maximum capacity of 630 feet, the water level in the reservoir stood at 629.5 feet at the time of writing this story.

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