Heavy rains lash Odisha, five districts put on alert

Heavy rains lashed several parts of Odisha and with weatherman Sunday forecasting ore downpour in the state in the next four days, the government has put five districts on alert. A fresh low pressure area is likely to form over northeast Bay of Bengal and its neighbourhood in the next 48 hours which may enhance rainfall in the state till August 7, H R Biswas, Director of the meteorological centre here, said. In view of the forecast, the state government has issued an advisory to the collectors of Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts to closely monitor the situation as heavy rains may create flood-like situation in these areas, officials said. While most parts of Odisha have been lashed by rainfall for the last two days, heavy to very heavy downpour pounded some areas in Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Bhadrak and a few places in the north coastal region of the state. Also read| Some areas of Bolangir, Bargarh, Gajapati and Keonjhar are likely to receive heavy rainfall on Sunday, it said, adding heavy rains may lash some areas of Bargarh, Nuapada, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur on Monday too. On August 6 and 7, heavy rainfall is likely to occur at some places in Malkangiri, Koraput, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Ganjam, Gajapati Boudh, Puri, Nayagarh, Cuttack and Khurda districts, the MeT centre said and added several areas may receive rainfall till August 8. Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi, in a communication, asked the collectors concerned to keep the administrative machinery prepared to meet any situation that may arise in the event of very heavy rains. The districts were advised to initiate necessary measures to identify vulnerable residential schools, welfare institutions which may get inundated and shift the inmates to safer shelters, if required. They have also been asked to make advance arrangements for food, water, sanitation, and medical facilities and relief camps. The fire department was asked to be prepared to carry out search and rescue operations, while requirement of the ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force) teams, if any, may be intimated, the advisory said. Meanwhile, the situation in rain-battered Malkangiri, where many bridges, roads and low-lying areas were submerged on Friday following incessant rains, improved considerably with water receding in several places during the day, the officials said. Malkangiri district Collector Manish Agarwal said vehicular movement, which had come to a halt in many areas, resumed on Saturday. The administration is keeping a close watch on the situation, he added. In Nabarangpur, southern parts of the district have been witnessing continuous rains for the last 72 hours but no disruption of communication has been reported so far, the officials said. The water level in Indravati, Bhaskal, Turi and Guntat rivers was rising in the district due to the rain and a close vigil is being maintained in vulnerable areas in Nandahandi, Nabarangpur and Kosagumuda blocks, they said. Nabarangpur collector Ajit Mishra said the administration has taken precautionary steps and made elaborate arrangements in Kosagumunda block, which was devastated by floods in 2010, in view of the heavy rain alert. Two ODRAF teams have been kept ready in the district headquarter town of Nabarangpur, Mishra said, adding the administration is closely monitoring the situation.