Flood situation continues to be grim, 28 dead

The flood situation in Odisha, triggered by cyclone Phailin and resultant heavy rains, remained grim on Tuesday as the major rivers were in spate, leaving about one lakh people marooned as the death toll in the calamities mounted to 28.

Three days of rains due to the peripheral effect of the high-velocity cyclone, which ravaged the vast coastal belt including worst-hit Ganjam, triggered floods in the major rivers in the northern parts of the state.

Relief and restoration work was stepped up in the areas ravaged by the twin calamities of the cyclone and resultant floods which affected over 1.2 crore people in more than 16,000 villages and claimed the lives of 28 persons, seven of whom perished in floods. Two fresh deaths were reported from Keonjhar and Kandhamal districts.

While the water level in rivers like Budhabalang and Jalaka started receding, giving respite to the affected people in some parts of the worst-hit Balasore, the mighty Subarnarekha was still in spate and it is feared will submerge vast areas in Basta, Baliapal, Bhogarai and Jaleswar areas of the district, official sources said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made an aerial survey of flood-hit Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj districts on Tuesday afternoon. Patnaik has decided not to celebrate his birthday on Wednesday in view of the disaster, they said.

As relief and restoration work was intensified, three senior ministers were entrusted with the task of supervising the entire operation. While Agriculture Minister Debi Prasad Mishra was sent to Balasore, Health Minister Damodar Rout went to Mayurbhanj and Panchayat Raj Minister Kalpataru Das would monitor the operations in Ganjam.

Describing as “grave” the situation caused by the sudden floods in the five districts following the cyclone-induced heavy rains, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro said around one lakh people were still marooned in flood-hit Balasore and Jajpur districts.

Cyclone and floods have affected around 1.2 crore people in 16,487 villages of 2015 gram panchayats and 43 urban local bodies spread over 148 blocks of the state, he said.

While standing crops in over 6,25,408 hectares had been destroyed, 3,76,608 houses were damaged due to the cyclone and floods, the minister said, adding that 2,30,000 houses were damaged in Ganjam district alone followed by 63,715 in Puri district.

Stating that over 9.9 lakh people had been evacuated ahead of the cyclone that made a landfall at Gopalpur in Ganjam district on Saturday night, Patro said 1,12,241 people were evacuated in the flood-hit areas.

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