| Villagers wade through floodwater as they try to move to safety at Baliapal in Balasore. (AP)
Bhubaneswar, July 7: The flood situation in north Orissa districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj remained grim today as water from a breach in the Subernarekha and Baitarani affected around 7 lakh people.
Balasore had been the worst hit with the deluge spreading across at least 567 villages in four blocks as water from a breach in the Subernarekha flooded Jaleswar, said government officials.
As the torrential rains lashed the coastal district of Balasore, the villages in four blocks of Bhogarai, Jaleswar, Basta and Baliapal and remained marooned. The NH-60 had been cut off at several points by floodwater.
Balasore collector Alekh Padhiary said the district administration so far has evacuated about 1,000 people. While the Jalaka remained above the danger level, the Subernarekha crossed the final danger level last night. Special relief commissioner N.K. Sundarray described the flood situation “bad, but not out of control”.
The Baitarani also swelled beyond the danger level at 19.37m at Akhuapada inundating at least 100 villages each of Bhadrak and Jajpur districts. Dhamnagar block was the worst hit by a swelling Baitarani. Revenue minister Manmohan Samal said the situation might spiral out of control as neighbouring Tihidi and Chandbali blocks were flooded. The road connecting Dhushuri with Aradi had been cut off after the water overtopped it. The revenue minister, along with chief minister Naveen Patnaik, will visit flood-hit Balasore and Bhadrak on Sunday.
The administration was trying to close the breaches with sandbags. Samal said emergency relief for three days was being provided to the affected people.
Sundarray said that Central Industrial Security Force jawans and personnel from Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force have swung into action in Balasore to rescue marooned people and distribute relief. So far, 50 country boats, 24 power boats and 19 CISF boats had been pressed into service for rescue and relief.
Vegetable prices soar
The heavy rains have caused the prices of vegetables to soar high. While the prices of onion had almost doubled in the last 10 days, the prices of potato also increased substantially in the state.