26 people dead in Odisha, 1.2 cr. hit

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BHUBANESWAR, October 15: Even as life continued to remain out of gear in cyclone-hit districts of Odisha, the flood situation remained grim on Tuesday in five districts — Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar and Jajpur.

Heavy floods in Budhabalanga, Subarnarekha and Baitarani rivers affected lakhs of people in marooned areas.

Relief and restoration work was stepped up in areas hit by the cyclone and consequent floods.

While 21 people died due to the cyclone in Ganjam and other districts, the government said five persons had been washed away in floods.

Over 1.2 crore people were affected by the disaster. Initial estimates indicated that the cyclone and flood together have affected 16,487 villages in 148 blocks and 43 urban local bodies. So far, 3,33,070 dwelling houses have been reported damaged.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who visited Ganjam district on Monday made an aerial survey of other flood-hit districts on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Patnaik decided not to celebrate his birthday on Wednesday in view of the disaster.

Mr. Patnaik also landed at Gopalpur in Balasore district and met the Revenue Development Commissioner and Collectors of Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Bhadrak to assess the situation. The government claimed that the flood situation was under control as the water started receding in the Budhabalanga and Baitarani. However, because of the heavy discharge of water from rivers in Jharkhand and the slow release of water to the sea because of full moon, floods are expected to affect Balasore district for another four days, the government said.
Motor boats

Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro, who reviewed the situation at a meeting, directed the relief and rescue teams to reach every marooned village and provide adequate relief.

Mr. Patro claimed that a sufficient number of motor boats had been deployed in the flood-hit villages. Over one lakh people were evacuated in flood-hit areas.

Airdropping of food packets had been stopped as roads and boats could be used now to reach affected areas, he added.

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