Bhubaneswar, Sep 20 (UNI) Over five lakh people were affected and 150 Gram Panchayats marooned as flood waters of Mahanadi river system submerged vast tracts of coastal Orissa.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal made an aerial survey of flood-affected areas today to assess the situation.
Mr Samal told newspersons here that the authorities evacuated around 90,000 people to safer places as the situation in Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Jajpur and Khurda turned grim.
Mr Samal said airdropping of relief materials had been started in Banki today and later extended to areas where the situation demanded.
Banki town was under five feet of water following a breach and was cut off from the rest of the world.
At least 20 power boats were rushed to Banki for relief and rescue work, the minister said.
Eleven more districts--Angul, Bhadrak, Boudh, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Nayagarha, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Sonepur were also affected after major rivers were found in spate following incessant rains triggered by a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal.
The Minister said 46 gates of the Hirakud reservoir were opened and the outflow of water near Munduli remained steady since midnight last night. A little more than 15.72 lakh cusec of water was now flowing at Munduli.
He appealed to the people not to panic as the situation was expected to improve with the water level of Mahanadi in Bolangir, Sonepur, Nayagarha and Boudh starting to recede in absence of rain in the upper catchment area of the river system.
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