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647 villages in Odisha still marooned; DONATE!

October 16, 2013 18:46 IST

647 villages in Odisha still marooned; DONATE!

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Though the flood situation in Odisha's five northen districts triggered by Cyclone Phailin and resultant rains slightly improved on Wednesday, people of 647 villages continued to be marooned, while the death toll in the twin calamities stood at 28.

The Odisha government has appealed for donations for the affected people.

"It is our foremost duty to help the people affected by the calamity," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in an appeal to all citizens, central and state public sector undertakings, corporate houses, business and industrial houses, banks and other institutions.

Donations could be sent through cheque, draft, NEFT or RTGS addressed to Chief Minister's Relief Fund (Cyclone-2013), C/o-Joint Secretary (CMRF), General Administration Department, Secretariat, Bhubaneswar, Pin-751001.

Donations could also be sent to S.B A/C No. 33378452680, IFSC Code No SBIN0006606, State Bank of India, Forest Park Branch, Bhubaneswar.

The donations would be exempt from Income Tax. Only the State Bank of India has donated Rs 2 crore to the CMRF.

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Image: A girl looks out from the window of her partially damaged house
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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With water level in major rivers receding, the state government on Wednesday decided to demobilise defence forces comprising of personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

However, the local unit of NDRF would remain deployed in the flood-affected areas of Balasore district, special relief commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra told media persons.

"Flood situation has improved except in four blocks -- Basta, Bhograi, Jaleswar and Baliapal of Balasore district and waters receded in eight other blocks," he said, adding that 647 villages in 83 panchayats still remained marooned.

Flood water has also receded in Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar and the government has decided to stop air dropping of food packets as all area are now approachable by motor boats, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), central division, Aravind Padhee said.

The RDC said about 96,000 flood affected people of Balasore district are now sheltered in relief camps.

"Eighty per cent of people in relief camps will leave for their houses by the evening," Padhee said.

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Image: A man and his son stand inside their damaged house after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur village in Ganjam district
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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In Jajpur district, though flood waters remained stagnant in 66 villages under 24 gram panchayats, they are approachable by boat and roads. About 70 villages of Bhadrak district were still flooded, he said.

"We expect fresh floods in 30 villages of four gram panchayats under Chandbali block of Bhadrak as water of river Baitarani would flow into the sea through this channel," Mohapatra said, adding 1.73 lakh people were evacuated in the wake of the floods in Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Baitarani and Jalaka rivers.

Stating that relief distribution was now the only priority in both cyclone and flood hit areas, Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra said the state government has thanked the defence forces for their support and assistance during the twin calamities.

The government has expedited restoration work in Ganjam and other cyclone-hit districts and a timeline has been fixed for completion of works, he said.

According to the SRC, the toll in the twin calamities was 28, which included seven deaths caused by floods.

The cyclone and floods affected around 1.2 crore people in 16,487 villages of 2015 gram panchayats and 43 urban local bodies spread over 148 blocks and 17 districts of the state, Padhee said.

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Photographs: Reuters

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With flood water receding in the five districts, the state government instructed the rural development department to immediately start disinfection of drinking water sources apprehending spread of epidemic.

Gaon Kalyan Samities have been asked to immediately start cleaning of villages by spending from the funds they have with them.

"We have sent essential medicines including anti-venom injections to health centres in villages as a large number of snake bite incidents usually take place after receding of flood water," Padhee said.

With cyclone and flood almost under the control, the Chief Secretary said restoration of power was essential as it was severely affecting supply of drinking water in villages and urban centres of 17 districts.

While standing crops in over 6,25,408 hectare area had been destroyed, 3,76,921 houses were damaged due to the cyclone and floods, the SRC said, adding 2,30,000 houses were damaged in Ganjam district alone followed by 63,715 in Puri district.

Stating that over 9.9 lakh people had been evacuated ahead of the cyclone that made a landfall at Gopalpur in Ganjam district on Saturday night, they said 1,73,000 people were evacuated in flood-hit areas.

The state government on Wednesday reported death of 409 animals and 6240 birds, SRC sources said


Photographs: Reuters

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