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600,000 stranded in Orissa floods

india Updated: Jul 07, 2007 21:29 IST
IANS
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About 600,000 people in over 500 villages in north Orissa's coastal Balasore district were marooned as flash floods triggered by heavy rains over the last five days worsened on Saturday.

Torrential rains due to a depression over the Bay of Bengal triggered flash floods across this coastal district, some 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar. Three major rivers Jalaka, Subarnarekha and Budhabalanga swelled, district collector AC Padhiary said.

Officials said the situation has become grim and likely to worsen as the water level in the rivers was very high on Saturday.

Thousands of stranded people alleged that district officials have failed to provide food or other relief material.

Residents of Kiapanisi village under Basta block have even alleged that no official had visited the area in the last two days.

Floodwaters entered the village, which has a population of about 1,000, on Thursday destroying food stocks, damaging various household materials and forcing the villagers to take shelter in upper floors of buildings nearby.

According to a relief department official, the village is currently under four feet of water and the water level is still rising.

The condition of the people in Kharidpipal village of Bhogarai block is no different.

"My house has been washed away and we are now on the streets without getting any relief. One government official came to us Friday but he did not provide any food," Harendra Behera, a resident of Kharidpipal village, said.

"Since safe drinking water is not available, we are drinking polluted flood water," he added.

According to Jaynarayan Mohanty, president of the Congress party district unit, thousands of people are struggling to get relief material after their food stocks were destroyed by the flood.

About 100 villages in Baliapal block have been marooned but the administration has dispatched them only 20 quintals of flattened rice, Mohanty claimed.

"The situation is grim in Bhogarai, Baliapal, Basta and Jaleswar blocks," Padhiary said, adding, communication has been totally cut off to Baliapal and Bhogarai blocks.

"We have deployed 43 powerboats and 50 local-made boats to provide relief and rescue the affected people. We are also bringing 19 more powerboats as the situation may worsen in the next 24 hours," he said.

The met office on Saturday predicted more rain in the state in the next 48 hours.

Although Friday's deep depression over Jharkhand and adjoining West Bengal moved in a north westerly direction, rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at many places over Orissa, duty officer G Sahu of the Bhubaneswar meteorological office said.

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