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Two killed, 40,000 people hit by Odisha floods

PTI | Bhubaneswar |

Death toll in the flash floods in Odisha's Rayagada and Kalahandi districts rose to twoon Monday while eight others were injured as the state government stepped up relief and rescue operations in the affected areas.

Flash floods, triggered by incessant rains, in rivers of Nagavali and Kalyani in Rayagada district and Hati and Tel rivers in Kalahandi, affected around 40,000 people in 80 villages.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the flood situation at the state secretariat, said, " The situation in Rayagada and Kalahandi district is improving and is under control. Free kitchens have been opened in affected areas. Air dropping of relief materials has been undertaken in Rayagada."

The reports on the death of two persons came from Kalahandi district, special relief commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi told PTI.

While one person died in a landslide, another man drowned, Sethi said, adding three persons were injured after a wall collapsed in Kalahandi district.

Similarly, five persons were injured in wall collapse incidents in Rayagada district and all of them were admitted to government hospitals, sources in the SRC office said.

On the flood situation in Rayagada district, Sethi said more than 28,000 people in 50 villages under Rayagada Block and 20 villages under Kalyansinghpur Block have been affected.

Extensive damage has occurred to four Public Works Department (PWD) and other roads, he said.

Waters of Hati and Tel river breached the embankments flooding Thuamulrampur, Kalampur, Koksara and Jaipatna Blocks in Kalahandi district. Around 11,000 people in 10 villages have been affected by this flash flood, Sethi said.

Meanwhile, the government stepped up rescue and relief operation in the affected area.

"At least 140 people, who were trapped in the flood water, have been rescued. The members of NDRF, ODRAF, Fire Service and state police have been engaged in the rescue and relief operation," additional director general (Communication) B N Jha told reporters after the review meeting.

People who were trapped in marooned areas have been rescued, claimed the SRC, adding about 4,000 people have been evacuated and lodged in 15 temporary shelters where cooked food is being provided to them at free kitchen centers.

Emergent relief in shape of rice, dal, chuda, gur, biscuit, candles and match box has been provided to 5,166 beneficiaries by the Rayagada district administration, Sethi said.

At least 828 food packets have been airdropped by Naval helicopter. Besides, 4,000 packets have been distributed to affected people, he said.

Ten health camps in Rayagada block and five camps in Kalyansinghpur block have been opened in Rayagada district.

Doctors and paramedical staffs have been pressed into service.

Claiming that the flood situation has improved as flood water has significantly receded in both Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, the SRC said all PWD roads have been opened to traffic.

Meanwhile, the chief minister asked the collectors of Rayagada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Cuttack to undertake flood damage assessment within seven days.

Patnaik also asked the districts to work in a coordinated manner.

The twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have also been affected due to the incessant rainfall since Saturday.

The local administrations have been undertaking water removal jobs using pump sets in low lying areas of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, official sources said.

East Coast Railway sources said at least six trains were cancelled, eight diverted and two short terminated while two other trains were rescheduled in south Odisha due to rain and flood situation.