17 dead, more than 10 000 houses damaged in Odisha floods, India

17 dead, more than 10 000 houses damaged in Odisha floods, India

At least 17 people died while more than 10 000 houses were damaged by floods in India's Odisha state as of Monday, August 31, 2020. Although the situation has improved, over 1.4 million people remain affected across 20 districts.

The state saw days of heavy rainfall from August 25, with several places recording more than 200 mm (8 inches) in 24 hours. In Marshaghai, Kendrapara, 234 mm (9 inches) of rain fell in a 24-hour period to August 26, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported.

Downpours pushed rivers above the danger mark in five sites, including the Subarnarekha River in Baleshwar, which hit record levels of around 6.9 m (22.7 feet) on August 27.

The river was above the danger mark of 5.5 m (18 feet), beating the previous high of 6.8 m (22.3 feet), according to the Central Water Commission (CWC). 

As of Monday, August 31, the rivers Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Baitarani, and Brahmani have been stable and flowing below the danger level, water resources secretary Anu Garg said. Three sluice gates of Rengali Dam have also been closed, while the fourth will soon be shut.

While the situation has improved, disaster authorities said more than 1.4 million people remain affected across 3 256 villages across 20 districts of Odisha.

The impacted districts include Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Boudh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Khordha, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Puri, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, and Sundargarh.

The state government also reported that more than 100 roads have been blocked across 11 districts, stranding more than 265 000 residents in 340 villages.

At least 17 people lost their lives in flood-related incidents, while dozens were rescued by the fire services and national disaster response forces. More than 10 000 houses were also damaged.

Among the fatalities was a young girl who attempted to save her friend from being washed away by the swollen Brutanga River. 

Moderate thunderstorms are forecast over Odisha, as well as Bihar, West Bengal, west Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, and coastal Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, September 2.

Featured image credit: DFO, Cuttack Circle

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