Rain subsides in Odisha; water receding from low-lying areas

The situation in rain-battered south Odisha, where fears of flood loomed large, eased on Thursday as intensity of rainfall subsided and water started receding from submerged areas, officials said. The deep depression which crossed Odisha-West Bengal coasts close to Balasore on Wednesday afternoon, triggering heavy rain in most parts of Odisha, has weakened into a depression, the Meteorological Centre here said. It lay centred over northeast Chhattisgarh and its neighhourhood and is likely to move west-northwestwards and weaken further gradually, said H R Biswas, Director of the Bhubaneswar Met Centre. Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi said that the situation was under control in all the rain-affected districts, including Malkangiri and Rayagada. Five districts of the state had recorded an average rainfall of more than 100 mm in the last 24 hours ended at 8.30 am on Thursday, he said. While Jharsuguda had recorded 207.2 mm rainfall, Kalahandi received 150.7 mm rainfall, Bolangir 117.2 mm, Jajpur 115.4 mm and Koraput 110.6 mm rainfall during the period. Two blocks in Kalahandi district had recorded rainfall of over 300 mm. Seven teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been deployed – one each in the districts of Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Kalahandi, the minister said. With heavy downpour lashing several parts of Odisha, a flood-like situation had emerged on Wednesday and road and rail traffic was disrupted in some areas of the southern region, the officials said. With the intensity of rainfall decreasing, the situation in Malkangiri, Rayagada, Koraput, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Gajapati and Ganjam districts has improved considerably, they said. Malkangiri district, which recorded an average rainfall of 129.3 mm rainfall till Wednesday, received 75.94 mm average rainfall in the last 24 hours ended at 8.30 am on Thursday, they said. The MeT Centre forecast heavy rainfall in several districts including Sundargarh, Bargarh, Nuapada, Bolangir, Kalahandi and Naharangpur till Friday. Though the water level in several rivers in Malkangiri started receding, water was still flowing over many low-lying roads and bridges in the district, disrupting road connectivity, officials said. Many areas of Malkangiri still remained cut off from the rest of the state and all the schools in the district have been ordered to remain closed on Thursday, Malkangiri district Collector Manish Agarwal said. Nearly 5,000 people in vulnerable and low-lying areas have been evacuated and shifted to shelter centres and camps, he said. The situation has also improved in Rayagada district. About 2,000 people had been shifted to temporary relief camps in the district. The water level in Vansadhara and Nagabali rivers has dropped considerably and water has started receding from inundated areas, officials said. In Kalahandi district, water level in Hati and other rivers has started receding, they said. However, train services remained affected for the second day on Thursday, due to washing away of ballast of 100 metres of tracks between Daikalu and Ambadola stations in Rayagada-Titlagarh section. A number of trains have been cancelled, diverted and partially cancelled on the route on Thursday also, a railway official said. While the intensity of rain is likely to decrease further from Friday, the MeT centre advised fishermen in the coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal not to venture into the sea till August 10.