Floods ruin crops in Orissa


Bhubaneswar : The floods triggered by heavy rain last week has submerged thousands of hectares of agricultural land in five Orissa districts, ruining paddy crops of thousands of farmers in the region, officials said Tuesday.

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"At least 80 thousands hectares of agricultural lands of 3,015 villages in the state's five districts have been affected by this flood," Arabinda Padhi, director of the state agriculture department, told IANS.

"We had sowed paddy seeds in our lands last week after the occurrence of first rain but they were completely destroyed by the flood water," Haladhara Sahu a villager in the worst hit Balasore district, told IANS.

Thousands of farmers in the flood hit districts are in trouble because many of them do not have funds to buy seeds again to re-start cultivation.

"Some villagers had paddy crops in very initial stage and some did not. We will evaluate the complete loss after the water recedes fully in the affected fields, Those who have lost crops will be provided seeds to re-grow crops," said Padhi.

"The worst hit district is Balasore where crop fields have been affected in at least 1,806 villages," he added.

The rains caused by a depression over the Bay of Bengal have led to flash floods in at least five rivers in the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj, affecting more than 1.5 million people.

The flash floods have killed at least 11 people, an official of the state revenue control room told IANS.

Thousands of mud houses have collapsed, rendering many people homeless and several roads have been cut off by floodwaters as river embankments have developed breaches.

There has been almost no rain in the flood-hit areas since Monday. The water level in the flooded Kharasrota, Baitarani, Brahmani, Budhabalanga, Subarnarekha and Jalaka rivers have gone below the danger level and the water standing in fields and villages has receded. But thousands of people continued to struggle for relief and shelter Tuesday.

"The government is sending relief material in over a hundred mechanised and country boats. Besides we are also dropping relief material using two helicopters," state relief commissioner Nikunja Sudarray said.

Locals claim this year's flood is the worst disaster they witnessed after the super cyclone of 1999 that had devastated coastal Orissa, killing over 10,000 people.