Bhubaneswar, Oct 15:
Describing the situation caused by sudden floods in five districts following cyclone induced heavy rains as “grave”, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro who chaired a review meeting here today said over 75,000 people were still marooned in flood-hit Balasore and Jajpur districts.
Though water level in the river Budhabalang was receding in Bahanaga, Aupada, Simulia, Nilagiri and Soro areas of Balasore district, the flood situation was still grim in Basta, Bhogarai, Jaleswar and Baliapal areas where river Subarnarekha was in spate.
The number of marooned persons has come down from over 2.5 lakh yesterday to around 75,000 – 68,000 in Balasore and 7,000 in Jajpur districts, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made aerial survey of flood-hit Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj districts this afternoon.
Patro said besides flooding many areas in Balasore, the Budhabalang had inundated 10 blocks in neighbouring Mayurbhanj district. Besides Baripada, the district headquarter town of Mayurbhanj, Betanati and Badasahi blocks had been severely hit in the floods.
Air dropping of food packets was stopped in view of substantial wastage and relief materials were now being sent by boats to flood-hit areas, he said.
In Jajpur district, 102 villages under 34 gram panchayats of three blocks were affected by flood in river Baitarani, district Collector Anil Samal said.
Relief and rescue operation was now in full swing in Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts which had also come under the surging flood waters as major rivers like Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Baitarani and Jalaka were in spate, official sources said.
Relief and restoration work was stepped up today in areas ravaged by twin calamity of Cyclone Phailin and resultant floods in Odisha which affected over 1.2 crore people in more than 16,000 villages and claimed 26 lives. Of 26, five people died in floods.
Cyclone and floods had affected around 1.2 crore people in 16,487 villages of 2009 gram panchayats and 43 urban local bodies spread over 148 blocks of the state, he said.
While standing crops over 6,25,408 hectare area had been destroyed, 3,33,070 houses were damaged due to both the calamities, the minister said.
Stating that more than 9.9 lakh people had been evacuated ahead of the cyclone that made a landfall at Gopalpur in Gajnam district on Saturday night, Patro said 1,12,241 people were evacuated in flood-hit areas.
The cyclone had left a trail of destruction in the vast coastal belt, particularly in the worst-hit Ganjam, the minister said adding, the south Odisha district was faced with severe power crisis and acute drinking water problem.
While electricity had been restored partially in six blocks of Ganjam, restoration would not be easy in the rest of the areas. The entire infrastructure would have to be rebuilt, he said.
Extensive damage had also been caused to power and water supply system in Brahmagiri and Krushnaprasad areas of Puri district and Daspalla area of Nayagarh district.
Meanwhile, a team led by Chairman of the Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (OPTCL) has left for Ganjam district for on the spot assessment of the situation before initiating concrete steps for restoration of electricity distribution which in turn would ensure water supply.
Teams from Army, Navy and IAF besides NDRF and ODRAF were deployed for rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit areas in the state.
Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central), Aravind Padhee camped in Balasore to monitor relief work.
As normalcy is returning in many cyclone affected areas of coastal Odisha, East Coast Railway (ECoR) has fully resumed its train services after the tracks have been cleared, a senior railway official said.
Patnaik has decided not to celebrate his birthday tomorrow in view of the calamities, official sources said.
(Source – PTI)