Four die in Orissa floods, worst yet to come

September 19th, 2008 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 19 (IANS) Flash floods have killed four people in Orissa as officials Friday warned that the situation may worsen when water released from the state’s largest reservoir reaches the coastal districts. Although there was no fresh rainfall Friday, officials said things were going to be worse when the water released from Hirakud reservoir Thursday reaches the interior parts of the coastal districts by Friday evening.

All major state rivers and their tributaries were flowing above the danger level due to the heavy rains. More than a million people in 12 of the state’s 30 districts were affected, officials said.

“The worst is yet to come,” Benudhar Dash, additional relief commissioner, told IANS.

Due to heavy rains in the upper catchment areas including in Chhattisgarh, a huge quantity of water was entering the Hirakud reservoir.

The maximum capacity of the dam is 630 feet and the water level has already crossed 629 feet, Dash said.

At least 22 gates of the dam were opened Thursday and four more dam gates were opened Friday.

The coastal districts of Cuttack, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara are likely to be affected, officials said.

Schools in the districts have been closed Friday and Saturday.

At least 30,000 people have been evacuated and more people are likely to be evacuated, Dash said. The government has also ordered people living in vulnerable areas to move to safer places.

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