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Rains increase woes of Orissa flood-affected

People in Orissa are still grappling with the after effects of floods that has devastated homes, crops.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 13:28 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Incessant rain in Orissa has compounded the woes of more than three million people still grappling with the after effects of floods that has devastated homes, crops and swept away livestock in the state.

The floods affected more than 3.2 million people in 26 of the state's 30 districts. The worst hit district in the latest round of floods last week was coastal Kendrapada, some 150 kms from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

The district also bore the brunt of the 1999 super cyclone, which had killed more than 10,000 people.

The state government claims that relief material was made available to almost all the victims of this year's serial floods, despite some villages remaining totally cut-off.

"People carried relief to the victims by wading through flood waters," state Relief Commissioner Jagadananda Panda said.

However, victims have a different story to tell.

"Our houses were washed away by the flood waters forcing us to stay on the national highway," said Arakhita Behera of village Bagada. He is one of the hundreds who took shelter on the highway.

"No one from the government came with relief. What we got was only from some local non-government organisations," he claimed.

The 15-kms stretch on national highway No-5 (A) from Duharia to Nilachal Bazzar in the district looks like a sea of water on both sides. Water has filled the area, forcing villagers to take refuge on the road.

Some have polythene sheets over their heads to protect themselves from the lashing rains. But all are not so fortunate, he said.

Relief has yet to arrive in many of the flood-ravaged 185 villages, said Keshari Parida, an MLA from Utkal district.

Almost all people of Bagada village are staying on the road, which is surrounded by swirling waters.

Floodwaters engulfed the village after an embankment on the Luna river, one of the tributaries of the Mahanadi, developed a breach, Haripada Sahoo said.

Two years ago, the administration had repaired the embankment at a cost of Rs700,000. But poor quality of work left citizens vulnerable to nature's fury.

And Bagada is not the only village badly hit.

There are over a hundred flood-hit villages in Orissa where people have similar stories on administrative apathy, said a social activist engaged in relief operations.

First Published: Sep 05, 2006 13:28 IST