Floods wreak havoc in Orissa; 300,000 hit

Bhubaneswar, August 31 :

After torrential rains, it is now floods that are causing havoc and destruction in Orissa. The Mahanadi has inundated large areas affecting more than 300,000 people, an official said today.

The heavy rains since Sunday in the upper catchments of the Mahanadi caused breaches today at two places along the banks at Bhagipur in Cuttack district, some 60 km from here, inundating large swathes of farm land and villages.

The water level at Dalai Ghai along the banks of the Devi river, a tributary of Mahanadi, in Jagatsinghpur district has crossed the danger mark.

The situation is likely to aggravate in the coming days with the Mahanadi, the state’s biggest river, and its tributaries continuing to swell, Orissa special relief commissioner Jagadananda Panda said.

“We have evacuated more than 10,000 people from various districts,” he said. The fresh floods come even as the state is yet to recover from earlier flooding which claimed over 85 people and caused massive devastation.

“As per our estimate, the number of people likely to be affected by the latest floods may be near three million in next two days,” Panda said.

At least 100 Indian soldiers are camping at Ranchi in neighbouring Jharkhand on standby to move in for flood relief in any emergency.

30 killed as boat capsizes :

PATNA: At least 30 people were drowned on Thursday after a crowded boat capsized in the rain-swollen Ganges River in Bihar, the state’s chief minister said.

“At least 30 people have drowned. Navy divers are searching for the bodies,” Nitish Kumar told reporters in Patna. At least 50 people were in the boat when it overturned midstream in the fast-moving river near Malsalami, a northern Patna suburb, he said.

Villagers and the divers dragged nets in parts of the river, but failed to locate any bodies.

Seven police stations located along the river have been alerted to be on the lookout for bodies, said B Rajendra, a local district magistrate. — AP