Chhattisgarh seeks IAF help to combat flood

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Raipur, Sep 18 (UNI) Following overnight downpour in Chhattisgarh, military assistance has been sought for rescuing thousands marooned by the Pairi river in this district's Gariaband area even as the Regional Meteorological Centre warned of heavy rain in most places over the next 24 hours with some locations likely to receive more than 25 cm precipitation.

Highly-placed sources told UNI that District Collector Sonmani Vora demanded a helicopter to rescue residents of nine villages but the state government is seeking military help as the copter could not take off owing to inclement weather. A letter was sent to the Indian Air Force Station, Allahabad.

''The state's largest reservoir Gangrel is rapidly approaching full-tank level and if water is released into the Mahanadi then it might enter villages along the Mahanadi's banks. About 1,000 people are marooned. An IAF chopper is awaited and food packets being prepared. People were brought to relief camps from some villages in Rajim area,'' Mr Vora told UNI.

Revenue officials and police have sounded an alert in villages along the Mahanadi.

Over 22 cm rainfall was recorded here overnight. A low-pressure area lay centred 50 km from Janjgir-Champa district. Even as a wet spell continued across the state, this district was the worst-hit.

About 30 villages in Gariaband were affected. Attendance was almost nil in schools and government offices in the state capital that recorded 12 cm today. An emergency helpline was set up.

About 50 people were affected after this district's Chhura tehsil office was cut off. Overnight rain figures were Kanker district's Narharpur 19 cm, Pusaur 17 cm, Nagri 16 cm, Koriya 13 cm, Champa 12 cm, Gharghora, Korba, Malkharauda, Janjgir, Basna and Pathalgaon 9 cm each, Bilaigarh, Saraipali, Sarangarh and Kharsia 8 cm each.

The low-pressure area is likely to move towards neighbouring Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur by tomorrow.

UNI AS-AC RR RK2021

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