Around a million people have been affected by sudden floods in the Balasore district of northern Odisha caused by incessant rains in neighbouring Jharkhand and release of water from dams upstream. Thousands are still stranded in villages inaccessible by roads three days after the floods started, though 2.5 lakh people have been evacuated to safer locations.
Despite adequate warning, the district administration failed to cope with the disaster resulting in second embarrassment to the Navin Patnaik government. Patnaik was booed on Monday in the cyclone-hit Gangam district even as angry residents blocked traffic.
Even on Tuesday, angry villagers forced to abandon their marooned villages, blocked traffic on the Chennai-Kolkata highway in Balasore. Thousands of them have made the highways their temporary home. The swelling of rivers Subarnarekha and Bhudabolang was cause of the water fury.
Standing with folded handed in waist deep water outside her shattered home in Gopinathpur village, 65-year-old Jharman Bibi claimed that they have not received any food and were surviving on boiled rice while seeking ‘churma’ from Balasore-based NGO Unnayan.
Balasore district is flood prone during monsoon months but the unprecedented flood came as water was released from dams upstream of the rivers because of heavy rainfall in Jharkhand.