Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flood Update III of 2011 from WIO - 11th September

Flood Update III from Water Initiatives Odisha

11th September 2011, Second Edition

Dear co-sailors,

This morning we brought to you the Flood Update II from Odisha and discussed how large dams like Hirakud have always failed in managing floods.  This evening, at 7.30 pm, we are presenting the Second Edition of this day’s Update as there have been more developments since what we updated last.

Before that however, we would like to bring to your notice that, some civil society groups of Bhubaneswar have echoed our lines about the Hirakud dam’s mismanagement.  We welcome this and wish more people will realise this truth and how the ‘Rule Curve’ has become obsolete.  However, we should also not forget that keeping the Reservoir Level at very high level till the last moment, despite knowing that there were heavy inflows into the Reservoir from upstream, was not just due to the ‘Rule Curve’.  It has more to do with political decision making.  As we have raised it before, ever since water allocation priorities of the Hirakud dam was changed to incorporate the water demands of growing industries around the reservoir, there is a constant attempt by the government to propagate a myth called ‘surplus water’ in the reservoir and in the basin.  And to keep this ‘myth’ alive, the dam authorities must have done all they could to keep the reservoir level at very high so that in case the monsoon projections fail they would not have to face problems.  It’s time we all join hands to expose such ‘myths’ and work out for concrete and co-ordinated solutions. 

In this III Flood Update on Floods from Odisha, we are giving some latest news in capsules, as being reported by media and our members from different parts of the state.

Ø  The flood has engulfed 2788 villages in 19 districts affecting 17 lakh people.  877 villages are completely cut off due to flood waters.  The human casualty has been reported at 16 so far.  There is no concrete news coming about death of livestock and wild animals.

Ø  35 sluice gates of Hirakud are open now and the Reservoir Level is at 628.08 feet.  Inflow of water to the dam is 638139 cusecs and outflow is reported at 625434 cusecs.  This seems to be a temporary respite but the flood water is still moving downstream and devastations will continue.  The water flow at Mundali is reported at 1333000 cusecs. 

Ø  The Chief Minister of Odisha has done an Aerial Survey of four coastal affected districts (Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Cuttack) only.  People from western Odisha have raised their voice against this.  “Even during floods the discrimination against western Odisha is visible in this government”, alleged a flood affected person from Sonepur district.  In fact, Sonepur residents say that they have never seen such an enormous flood.
Ø  While in each affected district, people have complained about inadequate and even non availability of relief materials and food, cattle feed has not reached anywhere.  Data provided on television channels show that the government will start sending cattle feed to each affected blocks from tomorrow.

Ø  In coastal Odisha, many people are taking shelter in embankments those are vulnerable to breach.  In Daleighai of Jagatsinghpur district, thousands of villagers are taking shelter.  This embankment breached in 1982 floods. So far reports have come about the breach of 21 embankments including 15 big ones.

Ø  Even as some villagers are constantly guarding it, hundreds of families from the 42 Mouza villages are taking shelter on the vulnerable Maniabandha embankment.

Ø  In Pipili and Satyabadi areas people, including children, are busy repairing embankment of the Bhargavi river. 

Ø  Hirakud dam’s back waters have started flooding Bheden and Ambabana blocks of Bargarh.

Ø  Sambalpur, Sonepur and Boudh are facing acute problems due to the flood waters and inappropriate relief measures as reported by people in TV news programmes.

Ø  The govt. officials informed that 3 helicopters are being continuously used to air drop food relief and these are being operated under the instruction of the State Relief Commissioner. 

Ø  One of our members called us to inform that 100s of families from the Alipingala area in Kendrapada district are yet to receive any relief material so far.

Ø  If you have any latest news about flood impacts and relief-rehabilitation measures, please write to us and we shall circulate that in our next update.

Look forward to listen from you and your support.

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Water Initiaties Odisha
Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

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Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

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