Orissa flash floods toll 36, hundreds rescued

July 20th, 2009 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, July 20 (IANS) The flash floods that were triggered by heavy monsoon rains continued to play havoc in Orissa with the death toll climbing to 36 on Monday and officials rescuing hundreds of victims.
The heavy downpour from last week has flooded most of the state’s rivers and streams. Officials said the flood waters caused breaches on embankments and 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, Jagatsinghpur,” he said. “The southern part of the state has been worst hit where hundreds of villages have remained marooned.”

“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.”

The water flowing in two major rivers Bansadhara and Rusikulya were 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 on Wednesday.

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