A portion of the railway bridge over the Nagabali river washed away after flash floods hit Rayagada district on Sunday. (PTI)
Bhubaneswar, July 16: The state government today sought the help of army and air force as the flood situation in Rayagada and Kalahandi worsened.
The rail traffic on the VizianagaramRaipur route were disrupted after a bridge between Theruvali and Singapur in the Rayagada-Titilagarh section had been washed away by flood waters. Nagavalli and Kalyani, the two major rivers in the Rayagada-Kalahandi belt, are in spate.
The flash floods in Rayagada district have left thousands of people marooned. Schools in Kalayansinghpur block of the district have been closed and the government officials' leave cancelled.
"Indian Army personnel and the Air Force helicopters are being mobilised," said chief minister Naveen Patnaik after reviewing the flood situation here today.
Official sources said two Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force teams, apart from fire services and the CRPF units, were deployed for relief and rescue operations. "Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been requisitioned for air dropping of food packets in the marooned areas," said special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi.
"In case of necessity, marooned people will be airlifted to safer places," said Sethi.
Several trains were cancelled or diverted as the railway bridge between Theruvali and Singapur road railway stations was washed away. Sukanta Mishra, 50, who is travelling from Hyderabad to Bargarh by the SambalpurNanded Nagavalli Express, said: "We have been stranded near Bobili junction since noon. Officials have told us that the train would be diverted. So, we will have to travel extra 17 hours to reach our destination."
In another development, the state government has geared up its official machinery to tackle the situation and face the possible floods in south Odisha as weathermen have predicted heavy rain in the region. Meteorology centre director Sarat Chandra Sahu said: "Heavy rain is likely to occur in all the southern districts till July 18 under influence of the depression formed over the Bay of Bengal."
Road communication between Rayagada and Bhawanipatna was affected and Kalayansinghpur block was cut off from its adjoining areas. Three bridges swept away in the floods at Kalyansinghpur. The flood water is flowing on the roads in many areas.
Twelve villages of Kalyansinghpur and Rayagada blocks have been affected by the flash floods, according to the preliminary report.
Heavy rainfall also created havoc in many areas of Kalahandi district. The Hati river's water level rose above the danger mark and flood water was flowing above bridges and roads cutting off communication to Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts. Official sources said more than 400mm rainfall had been recorded in Kalahandi in the past 24 hours.
Development commissioner R. Balakrishnan has been asked to coordinate with all departments. Balakrishnan, who held two meetings today to coordinate the response activities, said: "A new WhatsApp group has been opened for monitoring the situation."
Rayagada district collector has been asked to provide emergency relief to the affected people for seven days. All neighbouring districts have been asked to provide required manpower and material support to the Rayagada district administration, said official sources.