Bhubaneswar, Sep 20: In Orissa, thousands of people were affected by severe floods as seven breaches occured along the Mahanadi embankments which swept away many villages. Over 15 lakh people have been hit by the current floods in Mahanadi river system. More than 500 villages remained marooned in Nayagad, Cuttack, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur District for the last three days.
The state Disaster Management Department said one lakh fifty thousand people were evacuated and many others have taken shelter in hillocks and school and office buildings. 40 of the 64 sluice gates of Hirakud dam on the river were opened to discharge excess inflow. According to official sources, the swollen Mahanadi waters triggered seven breaches in embankments in the river system in Kendrapara, Angul and Cuttack districts.
Kendrapara was affected with four breaches, including one on Paika embankment at Patasura, another in an embankment on Chitratpola at Pandiapahana and two more breaches at Sansara and Bidari. While the one at Raniala in Angul district made the scene grim.
At least 14 locations along the Mahanadi system embankments have been identified as highly vulnerable, while 80 places were vulnerable for possible breaches.
Cuttack was badly hit with half of the district is in submerged condition following two breaches at Basinga and Kantilo.
The flood situation turned alarming with the water discharge in Mahanadi river near Cuttack crossing 15.3 lakh cusec.
The state Government has asked the Army to remain on stand-by for relief work and also asked Chhattisgarh to stop releasing water from Ravishankar barrage to avoid further worsening in situation.
While the Government confirmed the death of seven persons in floods, unofficial sources put the toll at 13.