In Odisha flood, survivors saw tsunami-effect

“The flood waters gushed into our village just like the tsunami I had seen on TV some time back after an earthquake struck Japan,” said Amulya Pahi of Badalpur with fear in his eyes.

Coastal Jajpur district has been the worst hit by the current floods in Odisha, with all ten blocks of the district being affected by the calamity.

More than 600 villages of the district had still remained marooned by the flood waters of the rivers like the Bramahani, Baitarani and Kharasrota even on the sixth day of the deluge on Tuesday. The villages in the Bari block have been the worst hit by the deluge.

Pahi said he and other villagers were aware of the floods in the three major rivers as well as their tributaries such as the Budha and Jamuna. However, they were taken aback on September 22 evening when they saw waters from the Kharasrota river entering into their village with great force and speed. The river had breached the banks near their village.

There have been more than 60 breaches in different rivers in Jajpur district alone by Tuesday morning, inundating villages as well as many urban pockets. Of them, ten have taken place during the last 24 hours.

Pahi said as soon as the water entered into the village he and his family rushed to a school building for shelter.

However, they were stranded on the roof of the concrete building for the next 48 hours as no help came from the administration though some other villagers, who had also taken shelter in another concrete house, had informed block officials about their plight over mobile phones.

“Two days later, we were rescued not by the administration but by a group of youths from a nearby village who had managed to arrange a country boat to save people from the marooned villages. We perhaps would have died but for these brave youths,” said the 39-year-old Pahi, a farmer.

Their misery did not end even after landing in safety as the relief provided by the administration was inadequate. “It was just like a drop in the ocean,” Pahi said.

Many other villagers, too, echoed the same concerns. “People are so desperate for relief that they not even hesitate to jump into the flood waters to get a relief pack,” said Dibakar Pradhan, another villager.

Some elderly villagers described the current floods as worst calamity to hit Jajpur district during the last 50 years.

“I have seen many floods in my life. But I had never experienced such a deluge. It surpassed even the 1999 super cyclone,” said 80-year-old Mayadhar Sahu of Maunpur village.

Apart from houses and roads, the floods have also washed away many small and big bridges in the district.

One among them is a major bridge on the river Budha near Rudhia. The bridge has almost completely collapsed due to the impact of the flood waters.

“The bridge collapse has saddened many as it had some heritage value,” said Pranabandhu Das, a school teacher. The bridge was 120 years old and was constructed during the British rule.

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