In Odisha, in east central India, following heavy rains, a huge volume of water has been released from the Hirakud Dam, to try to manage the danger of severe flooding in the area.
Swollen rivers have so far claimed 34 lives, and are affecting one million people, many of whom have been evacuated.
Floodwaters threaten cattle, buffaloes, and other animals. When people are evacuated, their herds of animals are left behind. Cattle are short on food since grazing pastures are covered in water, and there is no shelter for them.
Kailash Ch Maharana, Chairman of the Maitri Club, which sent relief teams to rescue animals in the 2011 floods, has written,
“The flood situation in Odisha could be worse than that of 2011. The release of water from the Hirakud Dam and incessant rain in the catchment areas caused the rivers Mahandi, Bramahani, Baitarani, and their tributaries to swell, further inundating the riverside villages and the adjoining areas.
“The Maitri Club is preparing to dispatch a team of seven experienced personnel with fodder and tarpaulins to help the needy animals. Your support, in any way, will be gratefully received.”
Mahanadi means “great river.” It flows through the Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Before entering Odisha, it is joined by the Hasdeo and the Jonk rivers.
The Hirakud Dam, on the Mahanadi, is the largest earthen dam in the world. It spans 15 miles, from one hill to another, and creates the largest artificial lake in Asia.
Before the dam was built in 1953, the Mahanadi, at its widest, was one mile wide. Now it is narrower and, at certain spots, winds it way through dense forests. It travels over 900 kilometers (560 miles), depositing more silt than any other river in India, creating rich agricultural land.
The river is subject to flooding caused by heavy downpours of rain. In 2011, severe flooding caused great damage to mud huts in 25 villages above the dam.
To contact Kailash Maharana at the Maitri Club, click here to go to their website.
Photo: Soumyadeep Chatterjee / Wikimidia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.” / Mahanadi River, Tikarpara, Satkosia Tiger Reserve.