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Tales of despair from Odisha: 'Our children and elders are hungry'

Last updated on: October 15, 2013 14:50 IST

Tales of despair from Odisha: 'Our children and elders are hungry'

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Displaced by Cyclone Phailin, villagers struggling to cope with the natural calamity are irked over the delay in supply of relief material and complain that children and elders have been going hungry for the last two days.

People in the villages of Gopalpur area say they are still to receive food items as their eatables and cooking material have been swept away or submerged in the cyclonic rains.

"The administration had promised during evacuation that relief centres will have enough food and water. But there is none here and our children and elders are hungry for the last two days," Babu Patra, a 42-year-old resident of Masoodpur village, said.

It is a similar story in a number of other villages and relief centres that bore the brunt of the October 12 cyclonic rains.

People in Rathasai village say the supply of jaggery, rice and pulses has finished and they are still waiting for the fresh supplies.

While the district administration admits that far-flung coastal villages are still to receive relief supply, the officials have put in all efforts to ensure early distribution of food items and mobilised all resources.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Tales of despair from Odisha: 'Our children and elders are hungry'

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Sub Collector of Ganjam Ashish Thakare, however, says that while initial stocks are been kept in the relief centres more is being rushed.

"Our teams are on grounds and it would be unfair to say that essential material is not reaching. By today, virtually every affected village would be covered," he said.

The administration has prepared five kg packets of jaggery and flattened rice as dry ration while water and animal fodder is being dispatched through trucks, small carry vehicles and boats.

In order to immediately supply food items, 50 kg of rice and pulses are being given per family by the state government, officials say.

"We are targeting BPL and antyoday families first. In the meantime, we are also distributing Rs 500 cash to each affected individual so that they can purchase essential food items straight from the market rather than the administration distributing it which takes time," Ganjam Collector Krishan Kumar said.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Tales of despair from Odisha: 'Our children and elders are hungry'

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A number of coastal villages bordering the neighbouring Gajpati district are also being sent relief material as the damage has been extensive in the area.

People in Chatrapur village said that they have sent some of their representatives to the Collector's office to ensure that the relief material reaches them soon.

The administration, taking into account the herculean task of relief material distribution, has also authorised more than 20 NGOs for distributing food items, polythene sheets, bamboo logs and water pots to affected people.

The district administration officials at various places had to face a tough time convincing the people that the relief material will reach them soon.

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Photographs: Reuters

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All coastal villages, which got disconnected due to damaged roads, have by and large been connected, district authorities said.

People in both rural and urban areas of this largest district of Odisha are also facing problems of non-availability of electricity and mobile phone connectivity.

Officials say partial restoration of both these services will take at least two more days.

District administration sources say they are finding it tough to reach a number of fishermen families as they have moved to their houses after the cyclone and there is no one to receive the food items on their behalf at the relief centres. 


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Odisha

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