The flood situation in Orissa worsened on Thursday after 43 new breaches on embankments in the Mahanadi delta region submerged more areas even as the deluge claimed 48 lives so far.
"Fresh areas were inundated as the number of breaches in Mahanadi system, which stood at 100 till yesterda rose to 143 today," the flood control cell in Bhubhaneshwar said.
As village after village was swept away by the gushing waters from the breaches, the plight of the marooned people were multiplied in the absence of proper relief and rescue operation due to inadequate manpower and boats, sources said.
What added to the agony of the flood-hit regions was the intermittent rain in most of the affected coastal districts including Cuttack, Puri, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur as most of the victims were still on highways and open areas.
40 lakh people in 6,000 villages in 18 districts of the state were affected by the devastating floods, the administration had only 1500 odd boats at their disposal for relief and rescue work, sources said.
Recsue and relief operation with the help of choppers had limited impact as most of the materials were wasted as they fell into water.
Naval teams and personnel of the central para-military forces continued to assist in the relief work.
Over 3.77 lakh people have been evacuated in the flood affected areas so far with the help of air-force choppers
Listing the extent of damage as per a preliminary study, a senior official said the floods affected nearly 6,000 villages, while as many as 827 villages were completely marooned due to surging waters.
As many as 1,26,786 houses were found damaged so far, while nearly 1,000 breaches were caused on different roads due to gushing flood waters, badly affecting road communication, sources said.
About 4.5 lakh hectare crop areas were damaged and nearly 12.5 lakh cattle affected due to the floods in which about 150 cattle perished.
As many as 471 free kitchens were operated to feed the flood affected people, while helicopters made 56 sorties air dropping relief materials and food packets besides rescuing people from marooned areas.
About 11.5 lakh water pouches were distributed by the relief teams and 4775 mt of cattle feed supplied.
The only solace for the flood affected people and administration was the falling water level in Mahanadi and its branches.
The water level of the Mahanadi at Naraj near Cuttack dropped to 24.74 metres as against the danger mark of 26.41 metres.
However, a major cause of worry was a met office forecast about rains in coastal Orissa.