Vast areas in Orissa's Balasore and Bhadrak districts have been submerged affecting about five lakh people following high floods in the Subarnarekha and Baitarani rivers triggered by heavy rains in their catchment areas, officials said on Saturday.
Balasore had been the worst hit with the deluge spreading across at least 567 villages in four blocks after the Subarnarekha opened up a breach in Jaleswar on Friday night, they said.
The turbulent river was flowing at 12.38 metres at Rajghat at 9 am against the danger mark of 10.36 metres and was still rising.
"It could go up to 13 metres," they said quoting flood forecast.
The affected blocks were Bhograi, Baliapal, Basta and Jaleswar.
The Baitarani was also rising menacingly and was flowing at 19.37 metres at Akhuapada against the red mark of 17.83 metres at 7 am threatening Bhadrak and Jajpur districts, neighbouring Balasore.
It was apprehended that the river might rise upto 19.70 metres later on Saturday.
Kochila, one of the branches of the Baitarani had inundated large areas after a breach occurred near Arjunpur, Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal told PTI.
"These are huge floods in the two river systems, but the situation is under control," Samal said.
Efforts are being made to plug the breaches with sandbags and vigil being maintained on river embankments, he said adding three day's emergent relief was being provided to the affected people.
Samal said he, along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, would be visiting the flood-hit areas on Sunday.
The special relief commissioner N K Sundarray was camping in Balasore monitoring the situation in the two affected districts.
A report from Bhadrak said Dhamnagar block had been worst hit by the Baitarani floods while Bhandaripokhari had been partially affected.
But the situation might worsen towards this evening when Tihidi and Chandbali blocks are expected to come under the grip of the flood.
Arjunpur, where the breach occurred, had remained marooned thereafter.
The road connecting Dhushuri with Aradi had been cut off after the flood waters overtopped it.
In Balasore, 178 villages in Baliapal block, 142 villages in Basta block, 127 villages in Jaleswar block and 120 villages in Bhograi block had been affected.
The sources said that 50 country boats, 24 power boats and 19 CISF boats had been pressed into service for rescue and relief work.
Till now, about 1200 marooned people had been brought to safety. There was no power supply in the four blocks while the NH-60 had been cut off at several points by the flood waters, the sources said.