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Orissa floods toll 36, hundreds rescued
Published on 20 Jul. 2009 11:35 PM IST
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Flood battered Orissa Monday declared holidays for two days starting Tuesday in all schools in Orissa’s Balasore district anticipating massive rains in the region due to a depression in the Bay of Bengal. “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has declared two days holiday after reviewing the flood situation,” a senior official told IANS. Although more rains were predicted in the state Monday where flash floods triggered by continuous heavy rains for a week have caused the deaths of at least 36 people and displaced thousands, heavy to very heavy rains are likely to occur in the district of Balasore during next 48 hours, the official said. Heavy rains were predicted due to a depression formed over the North West Bay of Bengal which is likely to intensify further and move in a west north westerly direction. It is expected to cross north Orissa-West Bengal coast between Balasore and Digha Monday. The state government has alerted all the district collectors to remain prepared to meet the challenges and advised fishermen not to venture into the sea as conditions will be rough, the official said. The heavy downpour from last week has caused floods in most of the state’s rivers and streams. Officials said the flood waters caused breaches in embankments and flooded roads as a result of which several areas in eight of the state’s 30 districts remained cut off. “So far, 36 rain related deaths have been reported,” state’s Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro told IANS. “While many of them died due to drowning, some of them have died after their mud houses collapsed,” he said. “The districts affected by the flash floods are Boudh, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Koraput, Rayagada, Bolangir, Kalahandi and Jagatsinghpur,” he said. “The southern part of the state has been worst hit where hundreds of villages have remained marooned,” he added. “ODRAF (Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force) personnel have rescued hundreds of victims and moved them to safer places after flood waters entered their homes in Bhanjanagar and Belaguntha areas of Ganjam district and some areas of Nayagarh district,” Patro said. The floods have also submerged rice paddies in thousands of hectares, Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout told IANS. “We have asked collectors of the affected districts to submit reports assessing the damage it has caused.” Two major rivers Bansadhara and Rusikulya flowed above danger levels in several places Monday morning. Even though water levels in other rivers are still on the rise, they are flowing below danger levels, an official of the state flood control room said. The local meteorological centre Monday predicted more rains during the next 24 hours. State officials said the situation is likely to remain grim for the next few days if the state had more rain. The water of the overflowing rivers and streams may not get discharged into the sea because of the high tide, as it is new moon Wednesday.

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