The Odisha government on Friday ordered closure of all educational institutions in seven districts and deployed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as massive floods killed 10 people and forced evacuation of over 1.50 lakh people.
Incessant rains continued to pound the state for the fifth day on Friday, leading to the second wave of floods within 12 days in the state which is yet to recover from the devastation caused by Cyclone Phailin.
While 21 people were killed in the cyclone, the combined toll from the two waves of flood stood at 33. The met department has attributed the heavy rains to a low pressure zone over the Bay of Bengal.
The state government ordered the administration in seven disricts to close down all educational institutions till Monday. Teams of National Disaster Response Force, assisted by the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, have also been pressed into service in the flood-affected districts, while three helicopters have been deployed for search and rescue operation.
The fresh wave of floods has inundated more than 2,250 villages in the districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Nayagarh and Puri. Six deaths were reported from Ganjam and four from Jagatsinghpur districts due to wall collapse and drowning, government officials said.
Ganjam, which was worst hit by Cyclone Phailin on October 12, was most affected by the second round of flood too.
More than 95,000 people have been evacuated from 22 blocks across Ganjam, many of them for the second time since the cyclone made landfall in the district, even as another 1 lakh still remained marooned in floodwaters.
“The relief and restoration work for cyclone, which had been going on in full swing in the district, has been disrupted due to the flood. Our first objective is to rescue the marooned people,” special relief commissioner PK Mohapatra said.
The continuous downpour has added to the misery of the people in the district that is yet to recover from the trauma of cyclone. Rajani Das of Biripur village said the cyclone had devastated their house and now flood has eliminated its existence.
“I had got relief material like rice, kerosene, polythene from the administration after cyclone but now flood has swept them away. I have shifted to a relief camp for the second time in 10 days. Living like this is worse than death,” she said.
Cyclone Phailin hit the beach town of Gopalpur in Ganjam on the night of October 12 with a wind speed of more than 200 km per hour. The storm devastated communication system and power supply in all affected districts, uprooted trees, overturned trucks and flattened kuchha buildings, mostly in Ganjam district.
A day later, the waning cyclone caused heavy rains, triggering flood in northern districts. Around 1.20 crore people in 17 districts were affected due to the cyclone and the first round of flood.
Two villagers carry their bicycles and wade through floodwaters in Banapur village of Khurda district, in Odisha. (AP Photo)