Storm hits Orissa, worsens flood situation


Bhubaneswar : The flood situation continued to remain grim in Orissa Monday as a storm, accompanied by torrential rains and strong winds, inundated many more areas of the state including Cuttack and capital Bhubaneswar.

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Senior district officials said a storm wreaked havoc in parts of Jajpur district killing one woman, injuring ten people, three of them seriously, and causing widespread damage to houses, shops, schools, vehicles and the communication network.

At least 50 cattle perished and over 300 houses, roofs of some schools and government offices also were damaged, a district administration official said.

“We have provided 300 big polythene sheets to the victims. Affected people have also been supplied with flattened rice and molasses,” Jajpur district Collector Sanjay Kumar Singh told IANS.

“We have also opened three free kitchens to provide food to the flood hit people. We have also deputed three medical teams to take care of the health of the flood victims,” he said.

Meanwhile, at least seven people have been killed and thousands of homes submerged in the last three days in the coastal areas of the state.

While the coastal town of Puri Monday witnessed the highest 220.3 mm of rainfall, Bhubaneswar recorded 186.5 mm, an official at the meteorological office here told IANS.

Cuttack, 25 km from here, recorded 129.1 mm rainfall. The city recorded 33 cm of rain in just 10 hours Sunday – the highest in the last three decades. Over half a million people have been stranded by the floods as officials continue to evacuate thousands from the slums and low-lying areas.

“The situation continues to be grim,” a district administrative official told IANS.

“Over 80 percent of Cuttack has been waterlogged due to incessant rains and an inefficient drainage system. Most residents are trapped at home,” said Amitabh Rout, a resident.

The state government has ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in the city. Business establishments were affected as water entered shops and godowns.

The bus terminus of the city was flooded. Ironically, the office of Cuttack’s chief engineer (drainage), which oversees the drainage work across Orissa, was also inundated.

“We are trying to pump out water from several low lying areas. High power diesel pumps have been deployed at various places across the city,” said Cuttack Collector Sujata Rout.

“We have declared two-day relief for the affected people and free kitchens will be opened for the worst hit. Over 20,000 people have been evacuated to safer places,” Rout told IANS.

The situation in the state capital Bhubaneswar was no better. “Rainwaters have gushed into many houses in VIP areas like Sahid Nagar and Acharya Vihar as well,” said an official of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA).

The state revenue control room claimed that the rain and lightning had killed at least seven people in the state over past three days. However, according to local media reports the figure could be more than 30.

The eastern state can expect more rain in the coming days, according to the weather department. The sea is likely to remain rough for the next few days and fishermen have been advised not to venture out to the sea.