People wait for relief material on the top of a thatch in a flooded locality after heavy rains in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin in Balasore on Monday
Bhubaneshwar: Heavy rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin, which struck the Odisha coast over the weekend and has since dissipated, has triggered massive floods in several districts in the state. Over 2.5 lakh people have been marooned in Balasore, which along with Mayurbhanj, are the worst-hit.
Here are the latest developments:
The situation in Balasore "is critical," according to PK Mohapatra, the state's Special Relief Commissioner, as flood waters from the Budhabalanga and Subarnarekha rivers inundated scores of villages.
Nearly half of Baripada town in the neighbouring Mayurbhanj district has also been submerged due to a worrying rise in water levels in the river.
Teams from the Army, Navy and Air Force, besides central disaster management agencies, have been deployed for rescue and relief operations in region. "We are starting air-dropping of food packets in Balasore district immediately... The flood situation in the district is a cause of concern," state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister SN Patro said. (Read)
The death toll in the state due to the impact of the cyclone has risen to 27 after four people were killed today due to the floods in Mayurbhanj and Bhadrak districts.
Three villages in Ganjam district, which bore the maximum brunt of the monster storm which hit the state on Saturday evening, have also been completely submerged, stranding nearly 10,000 people. A local MLA in the district has, in fact, demanded for the Army and Air Force to be called in to evacuate people. (Track updates)
Power services in Ganjam have been completely wrecked, while five lakh homes have been partially or completely destroyed. "It will take us a minimum of one week, maybe even two weeks to get power back," collector of Ganjam district Krishan Kumar said.
The loss arising out of the devastation unleashed by the cyclone has been pegged at more than Rs 3,000 crore in Ganjam alone. Fishermen have suffered massive losses as their nets, boats and catamarans have been damaged, the Collector said. (Full coverage)
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who visited relief camps in the cyclone-ravaged district today, was greeted by angry villagers who complained against lack of relief materials and demanded compensation. He has ordered payment of Rs 500 each to those affected even as the administration will begin distribution of ration that will be supplied free of cost for the next two months. "We will provide them money for rehabilitation and for crop damage... We are taking care of drinking water supply," he said.
Mr Patnaik also spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today and informed him about the post-cyclone situation and the state government's initiatives to bring back normalcy in the affected districts. He also requested the PM for technical support of Central power sector units for restoration of the power infrastructure in the state.
A part of National Highway 5, connecting Kolkata and Chennai, was blocked by several villagers today who were also agitating against the lack of relief material.