Cyclone triggers floods in Odisha, 2.5 lakh marooned

Situation critical in Balasore, Mayurbhanj; death toll rises to 25

Cyclone triggers floods in Odisha, 2.5 lakh marooned

Heavy rain caused by cyclone Phailin triggered floods in major rivers in five districts of Odisha on Monday, with over 2.5 lakh people marooned in worst-hit Balasore.

Together, they affected over 1.2 crore people and the death toll has risen to 25.

The death toll in the impact of the cyclone has risen to 25 with four people being killed in the floods in Mayurbhanj and Bhadrak districts. Phailin, which claimed 21 lives, has dissipated but the heavy rains and floods in its aftermath is a cause of concern, Odisha Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro said.

Apart from Balasore, four other districts — Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar — came under the surging flood waters as major rivers like Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Baitarani and Jalaka were in spate, Patro said.

The twin calamity of cyclone and the resultant floods affected over 1.2 crore people in the state as more than 10.13 lakh people were evacuated to safe places, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.

Teams from Army, Navy and IAF besides NDRF and ODRAF were deployed for rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas in the state while air dropping of food packets was launched in Balasore where 7.1 lakh people were affected by floods, the SRC said.

Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central), Aravind Padhee, who is camping in Balasore to monitor relief work, said as many as 930 villages in 12 blocks were affected by floods in the district.

Mohapatra said the flood situation in Balasore district was “critical”, with Budhabalang river’s flood waters inundating villages in Remuna, Balasore sadar, Jaleswar and Bhograi.

Patro said besides flooding many areas in Balasore, Budhabalang has also inundated 10 blocks in neighbouring Mayurbhanj district. Besides Baripada, the district headquarter town of Mayurbhanj, Betanati and Badasahi blocks have been severely hit in the floods.

In Jajpur district, 102 villages under 34 gram panchayats of three blocks were affected by flood in river Baitarani, district Collector Anil Samal said.

Baitarani was flowing at 19.89 metre at Akhuapada as against the danger level of 17.83 metre, he said adding relief and free kitchens have been arranged for the affected people and personnel of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were deployed for rescue and relief.

A senior navy officer said the military was deployed in the flood-hit areas as per the state government’s request. “Three teams of divers of INS Chilika will participate in the rescue operation in Balasore,” he said.

“We have launched joint operation with the state government in flood hit areas. At least 450 army personnel along with boats and other logistics have reached the spot. We have some more army men in reserve,” said the officer, who attended a flood review meeting in Bhubaneswar.

Meanwhile, Mohapatra admitted that the government was caught unawares by a sudden surge in river waters in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.

“We could not imagine the water level in Budhabalang river would suddenly rise to such an extent. At about 9 am yesterday (on Sunday), there was nothing wrong, but suddenly to our surprise at noon water started gushing into Madhuban area of Baripada town,” he said.

-Cyclone Phailin is now lying over southwest Bihar and its neighbourhood as a “well-marked low pressure area” with a speed of 25-35 kmph

- Odisha’s coastal Ganjam district suffers infrastructure losses worth Rs 3,000 crore, say initial estimates

- Heavy rain likely in Bengal, Sikkim and Bihar

- Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar come under surging flood waters as major rivers are in spate

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