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2 killed, road links snapped as heavy rains lash Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Heavy downpour caused by a low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal led to a flood-like situation in several parts of Odisha on Sunday, snapping road connectivity, damaging mud houses and crops, and killing two people, officials said.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall coupled with strong surface wind is likely to persist in many parts of the state till Monday under the impact of the low-pressure area, which has now weakened and lies over Jharkhand and its neighbouring areas, the Meteorological Centre here said.

Two members of a family were killed in an incident of wall collapse at a village in Patnagarh block of Bolangir district on Saturday night, Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said.

No other casualty was reported from anywhere in the state, he said.

While Odisha has already been battered by intense rainfall due to three back-to-back low-pressure areas this month, the MeT Centre has forecast the likelihood of the formation of another low-pressure area over north Bay of Bengal around August 19.

Noting that almost all parts of the state have received widespread rainfall under the impact of the current low-pressure area since August 13, Jena said Sonepur district recorded maximum showers of 125 mm during the 24 hours till 8.30 am of Sunday.

Malkangiri reported 100 mm of rainfall, Boudh 97 mm, Bargarh 95 mm, Sambalpur 85mm, Balangir 73 mm, and Deogarh district received 90 mm.

Jharsuguda, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Angul and Sundargarh recorded an average rainfall of 25-50 mm during the period, he said.

With heavy downpour pounding the state, life was thrown out of gear in several areas of Malkangiri, Dhenkanal, Bhadrak and Cuttack districts, officials said, adding that several villages were cut off from the rest of the state as roads were submerged.

In Malkangiri, low-level bridges connecting various block headquarters have been submerged, temporarily disrupting the road connectivity, district collector Manish Agarwal said.

As soon as the water recedes, assessment of the damage caused to crops will be made to provide relief to the affected people, he said.

Reports of some houses being damaged have come from Chitrakonda and Kalimela blocks, while two persons were rescued from a truck at Kangurukonda on Saturday, Agarwal said.

Around 34 villages have been affected to various degrees, mostly for agricultural loss and marooning, while a check dam has been breached causing submergence of agricultural land and crop loss in the Mathilli area, the collector said.

About a hundred stranded people due to submergence of a bridge have been provided accommodation and food, ensuring social distancing, he said.

Similar reports were received from the Dhenkanal district where rainwater inundated low-lying areas in around a dozen villages in Bhuban block, besides inundating several roads and snapping communication lines, officials said.

State Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik, who visited the affected areas in Bhuban, said necessary steps are being taken to provide assistance to the people in the submerged villages.

He said he has asked the Block Development Officer (BDO) to take quick steps to deal with the situation.

The water level in the Jalaka river at Mathani in Balasore district has touched 6.3 metre, crossing the danger mark of 5.5 metre, officials said.

Issuing an ”Orange Warning” for Malkangiri till Monday, the MeT Centre forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall.

Heavy rainfall may also occur in some areas in Koraput, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Bolangir, Bargarh, Mayurbhanj, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts where a ”Yellow Warning” has been issued till Monday.

”Orange Warning” stands for weather conditions that have the capacity to impact the lives of the people significantly and requires the authorities to remain prepared, while ”Yellow Warning” implies the possibility of disruption of normal life due to adverse weather conditions.

The intensity of the rainfall is likely to subside after Monday, and regain momentum around August 19, the weather office said.

Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off Odisha coast till Monday as squally weather with surface wind up to 45-55 kmph speed may prevail during the period.

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