Fresh rain compounds flood woes in Odisha

Fresh rain under the impact of yet another low-pressure system in the Bay of Bengal has become a major worry for officials managing the current floods in Odisha.

It has also brought more misery for flood victims—particularly those who have taken shelter in river embankments and highways after losing their houses to the deluge.

According to officials sources, lakhs of villagers have not yet returned to their houses, having taken shelter in temporary homes on river embankments and relief camps opened by the local authorities of the various flood-hit districts, as their villages remained inundated. The water level in rivers, however, have started receding.

“The situation continues to be problematic in some districts in the coastal region, like Kendrapara, Puri and Jagatsinghpur. However, we are hopeful of the condition improving in the next couple of days,” said Deputy Relief Commissioner Prabhat Mohapatra.

He added that nearly 5 lakh people in 460 villages in the flood hit districts were still marooned till Sunday afternoon by the floods.

Nearly 5,000 villages in 23 out of the 30 revenue districts in the state have been affected by the floods. In these districts, nearly 25,000 houses have been severely damaged by the calamity, according to official figures available in the office of the special relief commissioner.

The official death toll went up to 45 by Sunday evening from 37 on Friday.

The local Met office has predicted rainfall across the state over the next 24 hours under the impact of the fresh low-pressure area, which was centred over north Jharkhand on Sunday. “Rain may occur across the state during the next 24 hours. However, the rainfall may be heavy in one or two places in interior Odisha,” said Sarat Sahu, director of the local weather office.

Over the past 24 hours, western Odisha's Sambalpur district, which too was ravaged by the floods, recorded the maximum rainfall of 41 mm.

The DRC confirmed that in one major river—Baitarani—the water level has once against started rising, and that the river was flowing above the danger mark following heavy rain in north Odisha's Keonjhar district on Saturday night.

“Baitarani is the only river currently flowing slightly above the danger mark. However, the water level is expected to come down as rain has stopped,” said the senior official.

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